Economy, Domestic Economy

Germany Expects to Double Exports to Iran

Germany Expects  to Double Exports to IranGermany Expects  to Double Exports to Iran

German industry expects a steep rise in exports to Iran following the lifting of sanctions and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel says he would seek to drum up trade during his visit to Tehran in early May.

The sanctions came to an end on Jan. 16 after the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed that Iran complied with its side of the July 14 agreement with world powers to limit its nuclear program.

For decades before sanctions were imposed, Germany was Iran's biggest trading partner. The gap in Iranian imports from Germany and other western countries has largely been filled by Chinese, South Korean and Middle Eastern competitors, Reuters reported.

Germany's Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) said it expected exports to Iran to double to €5 billion ($5.5 billion) in the coming years and reach twice that figure in the long run.

This could compensate, at least partially, for waning demand for German goods from China, Russia and other emerging markets.

"German companies have lost important market share in Iran. We must revive German-Iranian ties as quickly as possible," DIHK head, Volker Treier, said.

Gabriel, who led the first top-level German government visit to Tehran in 13 years in July, will head back to Iran in early May to co-chair an economic conference with his counterpart, Ali Tayyebnia.

"The revival of trade will take some time, but the lifting of sanctions provide a sound basis for this," Gabriel said in a statement on Sunday. "This gives us the opportunity to open a new chapter in German-Iranian trade ties."

German machinery, automobile, chemical, healthcare and renewable energy firms are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of the opening up of the Iranian market.

German engineering trade group VDMA plans to open an office in Tehran in the first half of this year to help companies sell machinery in Iran.

Last week, Siemens signed deals to work on Iran's rail infrastructure while Daimler announced plans for its commercial vehicle division to return to Iran.