Economy, Business And Markets

Trade With Germans at €2.3b

Valiollah Seif (R) and Brigitte Zypries
Valiollah Seif (R) and Brigitte Zypries

Iran-Germany trade stands at €2.3 billion, according to the Parliamentary State Secretary at Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

"Hermes cover has resumed issuing guarantees for trade with Iran, with €5.6 million in guarantees issued so far and €11.6 million about to be issued shortly in the future," Brigitte Zypries was quoted as saying by the official website of the Central Bank of Iran.

"In total, €2.3 billion worth of trade deals are being conducted with Iran," she said in her meeting with Valiollah Seif, the CBI governor.

In late July, Iran's ambassador to Berlin said the country's debt Germany's Euler Hermes has been repaid in full and as a result Hermes coverage will resume again. The debt was said to be €500 million ($567 million)

Referring to the removal of sanctions as the necessary prerequisite for the reestablishment and development of business and further collaboration between Iran and Germany, Zypries said new opportunities have now become available.

"Furthermore, with the clearance of Iran's Hermes cover debt, hopes for business and trade dealings between the two countries were reignited," she added. "Fortunately a colleague of mine is currently in Washington negotiating for the future of US relations vis-a-vis Iran."

Calling the results of the JCPOA – Iran nuclear accord with world powers – evident, she said considering the achievements of president Hassan Rouhani's government, namely reducing the inflation rate, improving the investment and business climate and working to reconnect Iran's banks with the international  banking system, "there is real hope for the expansion of joint efforts."

The CBI governor criticized the US for its obstructionism ans said while Tehran is consistent in honoring its commitments under the JCPOA, the US is preventing normal banking relations between Iran and Europe.

Banking Issues

In a separate meeting on Monday with German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, the head of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries Mines and Agriculture said the German visit has created the grounds for further bilateral collaboration, but noted that banking hurdles still persist.

"When banking problems are addressed, Iranian and German companies can begin a new round of fruitful cooperation, which would can and will lead to more expansive ties," Gholam Hussein Shafei said.

 "We expect European countries to pressure the US into staying committed to its pledges" as enshrined in the nuclear agreement, Shafei added.

During the fifth session of the Iran-Germany Economic Commission in Tehran on Monday, the German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel met with his Iranian counterpart. Ten business agreements were signed between the two sides.

Both countries’ central banks also agreed to start "a technical cooperation" but no details were released.

Despite hopes of a new and promising era for Iran's economy after nuclear-related sanctions were lifted, major western banks and insurance firms are reluctant to do business with Tehran for fear of US retribution. The situation has also frustrated European governments and conglomerates eager to tap into one of the last frontier markets.

President Hassan Rouhani has said that to reach the target of eight-percent growth needed to modernize the industrial sector and re-launch the hobbled economy, Iran needs up to $50 billion in foreign investment every year. But without the big foreign banks, that looks impossible.

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