Economy, Domestic Economy

German Economy Minister Leads Delegation to Iran

German Economy Minister Leads Delegation to Iran
German Economy Minister Leads Delegation to Iran

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel is leading a large delegation of business executives to Iran for two days starting Sunday to discuss potential business deals after a historic nuclear accord paved the way for ending sanctions that had been in place for years.

Gabriel said he expects some agreements to be signed during the visit but gave no details, adding that he is also going to discuss Syria with Iranian officials, Reuters reported, citing German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.

The German minister was one of the first high-ranking foreign officials to visit Iran after the country and world powers clinched the nuclear deal in July to revive economic ties damaged by years of western sanctions imposed on Iran.

Gabriel canceled a scheduled trip to Iran to attend a meeting of Iran-Germany Economic Commission for the first time in 15 years early May, citing poor health.

A conference hosting hundreds of Iranian and German business figures was held in Tehran on May 3 in lieu of the joint commission, which has yet to be held.

German industry is keen to rebuild longstanding business ties with Iran, but trade has been slow to resume due to uncertainty and financial sanctions that remain in place even after the completion of the nuclear accord.

Managing Director of Iran-Germany Chamber of Industry and Commerce Rene Harum says trade between the two countries is expected to reach €5 billion in 2017 and €10 billion in the coming years.

Speaking at the first meeting of the joint chamber in Tehran on Wednesday, Harum said bilateral trade stood at €2.5 billion in 2015, IRNA reported.  

He said Germany is willing to become Iran’s top trading partner, replacing China whose trade with Iran topped $22 billion in the last Iranian year (March 2015-16).

According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, trade between Iran and Germany stood at $2.13 billion in the last Iranian year, down 25% over the previous year.

IRICA’s latest stats show bilateral trade is already witnessing a rebound.

Iran exported 10,400 tons of non-oil goods, worth $87 million to Germany in the first four months of the current Iranian year (started March 20), registering a %1.4 increase compared with last year’s corresponding period. Pistachios, carpet, caviar, saffron and dates were among the main exports.

More than 419,000 tons of goods valued at $671.3 million were imported from the European country during the same four-month period, indicating an 18% rise year-on-year. The imports mainly included industrial machinery, grain, pharmaceuticals and steel products.