Economy, Domestic Economy

Austrian Trade Mission Calls on Tehran Chamber of Commerce

Austrian Trade Mission Calls on Tehran Chamber of CommerceAustrian Trade Mission Calls on Tehran Chamber of Commerce

A trade delegation from the northeastern Austrian state of Lower Austria met with Masoud Khansari, the head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, in Tehran on Tuesday.

The Austrian delegation included Minister of Economy, Tourism and Sports Petra Bohuslav, Vice President of Chamber of Commerce Christian Moser and representatives of 40 companies from the region.

“With 90,000 companies in Lower Austria, our goal is to expand friendly and long-term cooperation with Iran,” IRNA quoted Bohuslav as saying during the meeting.

“Many of our companies are active in manufacturing state-of-the-art environmental machinery, facilities and technologies. We are eager to expand our cooperation with Iranian companies in these areas.”

She said Lower Austria has recently implemented major plans to modernize its industries, resulting in a progress in its technologies, hoping that Iranian companies will access those technologies once they engage with local businesses.

“Iranian companies could benefit from Austrian companies in the long run, through transfer of technology and investment,” said Khansari.

He, however, referred to banking issues as a result of lingering US sanctions against Iran and cumbersome export procedures in Austria as the main obstacles to expansion of bilateral cooperation.

Nonetheless, the two Austrian banks of Oberbank and Raiffeisen, according to Bohuslav, are ready to work with Iran.

“This is a good start and it will motivate other Austrian banks to resume banking activities and transactions with Iran,” she was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the meeting.

Erste Bank and Bank of Austria, according to TCCIMA member Nasser Riahipour, are in talks to enter Iran and OeKB, Austrian insurance and finance company, has expressed willingness to work with the Islamic Republic.

“We are now at the beginning of the road and preliminary steps are being taken,” Bohuslav said, adding that her country “will take any action needed” to promote bilateral economic relations.

On Monday, the Austrian mission paid a visit to Iran’s Markazi Province to assess investment opportunities there as “infrastructures of the central Iranian province are similar to those in Lower Austria, according to the state’s minister.

In the post-sanctions era, Tehran and Vienna have been working to increase bilateral trade, which currently stands at about $300 million per annum, by exchanging high-level trade missions.

In early April, a 110-strong business delegation of Iranian private sector business representatives, headed by Mohsen Jalalpour, the head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, visited Vienna and met with Austrian chamber members and their president Christoph Leitl.

During the visit, representatives of private businesses from both sides signed memorandums of understanding worth over $2 billion in the fields of auto, steel, medicine and engineering services.