Economy, Business And Markets

40 Deals Signed at Exclusive Italian Exhibit

40 Deals Signed at  Exclusive Italian Exhibit
40 Deals Signed at  Exclusive Italian Exhibit

T he first exclusive exhibition of Italian companies in Iran was held on January 5-8 in Tehran International Permanent Fairground, showcasing dozens of Italian brands mainly in interior design.

Last year, Adolfo Urso, the then deputy minister of economic development, visited Iran and held meetings with the officials from the Trade Promotion Organization and Iran International Exhibitions Company.

Around 27 renowned Italian companies attended the Tehran exhibition which was held in a 1,700-square-meter venue. The event was so important for the Italians that an Italian senator, the country’s deputy foreign minister, the Italian ambassador to Iran as well as the head of the Italian association of interior designers visited the exhibition. The participating companies had also sent their top managers to Tehran for the event.

During the four-day exhibition, the Italian companies not only signed 40 business cooperation contracts with Iranian companies and found the representatives for their products in Tehran, but they also received more than half a million euros worth of orders for their products including home furniture, luxurious office furniture, kitchen appliances such as cookers, interior design equipment, architecture products, and modern building facades.

What is promising about the exhibition and ensures the continuation of the event is that the Iranian and the Pordenone exhibition companies – both government bodies – have signed a five-year deal which will facilitate holding the next versions of the exhibition. The Italian side has shown interest to include more industries and more diverse range of products in future exhibitions, Alireza Pishgouei, the exhibition’s organizer, told the Financial Tribune.    

The organizer added that apart from finding active representatives for their products, many of the exhibitors have also shown interest to invest in the country; “a wish that could materialize only after the international sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear energy program are lifted.”

Pishgouei stressed that the Italian companies’ managers, many of whom were visiting Iran for the first time, were deeply impressed by the conditions prevailing the country, “as they had a totally different mindset about Iran arising from the way the western mainstream media portrays the country.”

“Italy was among the first commercial partners of Iran in the past but the recent sanctions against Iran hampered the business. Now we are ready to grab this opportunity to rebuild the economic ties with our old partner,” Luca Penna, the director of chamber of commerce, industry, trade, and agriculture for the Pordenone region in the northeast of Italy told the Financial Tribune.

Responding to our question regarding the Italian companies’ strategy if and when the sanctions on Iran are lifted, Penna said the sanctions were only “one side of the story,” stressing that business, by nature, does not care about politics but tries to find the economic opportunities in different countries. “Business knows no borders,” he said.

Penna urged officials from both countries to lower their custom duties, pointing to high tariffs on import of Italian furniture to Iran, which he believes “have a very good market in Iran.”

“The cultural proximities between Iran and Italy arising from their old civilizations can prepare suitable ground for business and commercial relationships between the two countries”, said Penna.

The head of Pordenone chamber of commerce added that apart from furniture, for which Italy is known as one of the leading countries in the world, the European country is also among the big producers of agricultural food.

He expressed hope that various Italian food products will be demonstrated in next year’s exhibition. He also said he would try to increase the number of manufacturers of textile and agro food machinery to the second exclusive exhibition of Italian companies in Iran.

 Role of SMEs

According to Penna, the first exhibition’s main target was to prepare the ground for business collaborations between Iran and Italy, “as the two countries’ economies are very much alike in terms of having mainly small to medium size enterprises.”

“We left many companies in Italy and brought only 27 enterprises, as the other companies were wary of possible dangers in Iran. But from what I and other managers have witnessed, we are assured that their assumptions were completely wrong”, Penna further said, informing that he and other exhibitors “would be ambassadors who will reflect the Iranian people’s hospitality as well as the business opportunities in Iran.”

“Iran’s market is growing fast and there are many good interior designers in Iran, particularly in Tehran, whose projects are fascinating. But we realized that the Iranian designers do not have easy access to their required material and equipment. So we have formed a holding company, composed of different small interior designing companies, to provide the required products to Iran’s interior design market. We have multiple products for kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, garden, etc.,” said Raju Paithankar, the sales manager at Italian Habit.

“The market for Italian designing products is quite ripe and there is also a cost-cautious approach to the products here. We know that the real estate and    the housing sectors are currently experiencing a slowdown in Iran. But at the same time we believe this is the right time to give new cost-effective solutions. With the high costs of apartment in Tehran, we know that the ordinary client is left with very little money to design the apartment’s interior. We aim to provide furniture and decorative products which are affordable for most people”, Paithankar added.

In October last year, Italy exported $135.1 million worth of goods to Iran, indicating a 37% increase compared to the same month in 2013, according to statistics by Eurostat. Now the Italian enterprises who attended the exhibition in Tehran hope they can be pioneers in resuming the economic relations between the two countries and multiply their export to Iran.