France Opens Trade Office in Tehran
Economy, Domestic Economy

France Opens Trade Office in Tehran

France opened a business development office in Tehran on Monday seeking to renew once-strong economic ties with Iran after the July 14 nuclear deal in the face of "fierce competition".
French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll and Minister of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl inaugurated the "Business France" office on a visit with some 150 business leaders, which is to run until Wednesday.
Le Foll warned that French companies face "fierce competition" from other European and American firms seeking a slice of the Iranian market with its 79 million population, AFP reported.
“France's longstanding business ties with Tehran should give it an edge,” he said. "What we want is to promote and rely on what already exists, on what must be developed and then also to innovate."
In the sanctions era, French companies scaled back their activities but without closing shop in the Islamic Republic.
Fekl said the opening of the office in Tehran was "a strong signal of our desire to work in the long-term" with Iran.
The French delegation attended a meeting with members of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture on Monday, where three memoranda of understanding were signed between the two sides.
The first MoU was signed between the two countries' agriculture ministries for broadening cooperation in food security and agricultural development. Another MoU was signed between the Iranian and French automotive parts manufacturing associations, while the third agreement was signed between the Center for Research and Higher Education and Management Studies in Iran and a French financing organization to offer training and counseling to Iranian and French banks and financial institutions.
French trade with Iran dropped from €4 billion ($4.5 billion) in 2004 to €500 million ($565 million) in 2013 as a result of western sanctions imposed on Tehran since 2006 over its nuclear program.
But the landmark accord struck in July with six world powers—Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany—provides for lifting the sanctions in exchange for Iran limiting its nuclear program.
“Now that the nuclear agreement is made, we enter a new period with Iran,” said Fekl. “We are seeking long and deep economic partnerships with Iran."


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