Economy, Business And Markets

Iranian Banks Closer to Opening Munich, Austria Branches

The first Iranian bank branch in Bavaria will be established early next year and hopefully with the opening of our next branch in Austria, all our trade issues rooted in banking relations will be resolved
 TCCIMA Secretary-General Bahman Eshqi speaking in Vienna on Nov.16 TCCIMA Secretary-General Bahman Eshqi speaking in Vienna on Nov.16

Iranian banks are expected to open their first branches in Munich as early as the next few months while the next stop is Austria, the secretary-general of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture in Vienna announced late Thursday, saying this will resolve many trade issues.

"Our specific proposal to remove banking hurdles to facilitate trade ties has been to open branches of Iranian banks in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, and this proposal has been met positively from economic officials, including the head of Bavarian Parliament," Bahman Eshqi also told IRNA.

The private sector official was speaking on the sidelines of a joint trade meeting between the commerce chambers of Tehran and Vienna, which was also attended by Iran's Ambassador to Austria Ebadollah Molaei.

Eshqi led a 36-strong delegation consisting of Iranian companies' representatives that also travelled to Slovakia on Monday.

"The first Iranian bank branch in Bavaria will be established early next year and hopefully with the opening of our next branch in Austria, all our trade issues rooted in banking relations will be resolved," Eshqi added.

He was referring to a trio of private banks, namely Middle East Bank, Sina Bank and Parsian Bank, who have been negotiating the launch of a Munich branch following the implementation of the nuclear deal in 2015.

The TCCIM official said regardless of what transpires in Iran-US relations in the future, Iran's ties with Austria are very good, as the country is more "trustworthy" than its European peers.

During his speech at the joint event, Eshqi said efforts to revive economic ties with Austria have been hailed by TCCIM's experts as a "very successful example of Iran's economic return to the global community".

He referred to Austria as Iran's gateway to Central and West Europe, adding that both sides have had constructive cooperation while TCCIM is proud to count itself among the collaborators of Austrian Economic Chambers and to hold various educational courses in Tehran with its help.

The Iranian ambassador pointed to the notable headways made in Iran-Austria ties in his remarks at the joint conference, stressing that it is now possible for both sides to prepare the grounds for making more promising joint efforts.

"Even though the volume of trade between the two countries is not at a suitable level yet, it has been continuously on the rise and we value our inter-provincial ties very much," Molaei said.

The ambassador said that as a metropolis with ample potentials, Tehran considers Vienna an important partner, adding that what is needed now is identifying cooperation opportunities through a correct and efficient economic lens.

"Potentials in areas, including environment, auto, telecommunications, agriculture, water management, medicine, energy, petrochemicals, food, mines, steel and other small- and medium-sized industries, can be realized in the future," Molaei said.

"Iran's Embassy in Vienna is fully ready to offer any kind of services in line with realizing these goals."

A representative with the Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (OeKB), who attended the joint event, said the bank is ready to support Iran's plan to remove the US dollar from its transactions.

"In our cooperation with Iran, we will in no way pursue the use of US dollar," Erwin Marchhart, director for export services consulting at the bank, was quoted as saying by Fars News.

He added that Iran has been historically committed to its payment deadlines and therefore, the lender is optimistic about working with the country in the future.

"Considering the current level and condition of trade ties between Iran and Austria, the bank is ready to increase the cap of its guarantees for businesses with Iran to €50 million," Marchhart reportedly said.

"In the case of specific long-term engagements with Iran, we can assist Austrian businessmen who wish to work with the country and provide guarantees, considering the share of their exports to Iran."

Marchhar noted that as Iran is among the seven countries prioritized for cooperation by Austria, OeKB is also aiming to expand its services, but faces challenges.

When 14 Iranian banks clinched a foreign finance deal worth €1 billion with Austria's Oberbank in late September to mark the first such deal reached after the nuclear accord with European banks, OeKB's representatives also met with Iranian officials to discuss ways of expanding financial, banking and investment relations between the two nations.

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