Economy, Business And Markets

CBI to Improve Ties to Lebanon’s Banking Sector

CBI to Improve Ties to Lebanon’s Banking Sector  CBI to Improve Ties to Lebanon’s Banking Sector

Given President Rouhani’s emphasis on the development of economic and trade with Lebanon, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran says he is focused on expanding banking relations with the Western Asian country.

“Expansion of trade and economic cooperation would not be possible without the activities of the banks. We will broaden our activities focused on the development of banking relations with Lebanon,” Valiollah Seif was quoted as saying by the official website of the CBI.

Seif, who was meeting with Lebanon’s Minister of Industries and Agriculture Hussein El Hage Hassan, noted that expansion of banking relations is the only way trade and economic deals between the two countries can improve. “Our past experience in banking relations with other countries have clearly shown that if the central banks open banking accounts with each other, it leads to an easing of banking transactions.”

The head of the Money and Credit Council referred to the nuclear accord between Iran and world powers – saying with its implementation, the negative effects of the sanctions imposed on Iran’s monetary and credit system had been alleviated. Pressure on the economy as a result of the sanctions have now diminished, he said, and “there are no restrictions in establishing banking deals with Iran.”

“There are adequate regulations in Iran for attracting foreign investment,” he said in reference to the country’s potential for attracting FDI.

On what has been done to improve Iran’s banking system, the CBI head said efforts have been undertaken to combat money-laundering and financing of terrorism that have augmented the banking system’s compatibility with global norms, easing the reestablishment of international banking relations.

“As a direct result of the efforts, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)–an international body overseeing  international money laundering–  improved Iran’s status and we hope that in the task force’s next meeting, Iran’s rank would be further improve. Furthermore, both countries’ Financial Intelligence Units can rekindle bilateral cooperation.”

In June, the international group that monitors money-laundering worldwide decided to keep Iran on its blacklist of high-risk countries but welcomed Iranian promises to improve and called for a one-year suspension of some restrictions on Tehran. “

 The governor pointed to Lebanon’s huge capacity in attracting Iranian capital, saying in addition to the economic potential of both countries in establishing trade and economic ties, it must be noted that Iranian investors look to Lebanon “as a gateway to Africa and European markets” and Iran is in a region that boasts a 400-million-strong market.

He proposed Iran and Lebanon’s bank cards become usable in both countries.

Expressing hope that the negotiations bear fruit, Seif asked that meetings attended by delegates from the central banks of both sides be held and a banking accord be drafted to be finalized in the next meeting between the two central bank heads.

The Lebanese minister spoke of the enthusiasm of his compatriots to expand  business activities in Iran, saying problems that have hindered bilateral trade must be identified and addressed so that two-way trade can develop.

“However this requires transparent and expanded banking relations and to achieve this, Lebanese banks want to enter Iran and open branches like their European counterparts,” he said.