Economy, Domestic Economy

60-Strong German Delegation in Iran Shifting Ties Into High Gear

Business & Markets Desk
60-Strong German Delegation in Iran  Shifting Ties Into High Gear
60-Strong German Delegation in Iran  Shifting Ties Into High Gear

As much as it sounds flashy, it is real. Germany is willing to connect with Iran in achieving the marriage of technology and industry, otherwise known as “Industry 4.0” or the fourth industrial revolution.

“The philosophy of economic development for the future is digitalization of industry—the marriage between mechanical production and IT business—and I see a good chance for collaboration with Iran,” said Minister of the Economy, Transport and Innovation of Hamburg Frank Horch in an exclusive interview with the Financial Tribune in Tehran on Sunday.

Horch is heading a 60-member delegation on a tour of Iran together with Minister for Economic Affairs, Employment and Transport of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Reinhard Meyer.

“I have long experience in Iran and therefore have many connections. ‘Made in Germany’ is a well-sounding name in Iran and I can say Iranian people like German engineering,” he said.

“Our delegation is highlighted by some industrial backgrounds with a wide range of activities, including services, tourism, maritime business and logistics, energy, cooling technology, energy efficiency and industrial products. The envoys are representatives of large and medium-sized companies from both public and private sectors. We are looking for cooperation and information from the cluster initiatives, which we can compare and develop together with Iranian companies.”

For Horch, the main sector of cooperation between Hamburg and Iran is harbor activities.

“We will head to Bandar Abbas later and hold discussions about hinterland connections and infrastructure projects. A memorandum of understanding has already been signed but it is not finalized yet. I am optimistic that we will come to the final deal at the beginning of next year,” he said.

Hamburg is home to one of the largest communities of the Iranian diaspora in Europe and one of the largest in the world. Iranians run 500 companies there. It has also been the location of the consulate general since 1858.

“German-Iranians have brought great impact on our discussions. They have provided this excellent platform for interactions between Iran and Germany and in the end, Iranian people and ambassadors will help to bring our national interest together,” Horch said.   

Minister Meyer believes Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost German State, are perceived as a joint region abroad, which makes the delegation’s makeup justified.

Both North German neighbors have economic and technological competencies that are of great interest to Iranian companies, such as renewable energies, maritime industry, mechanical engineering and medical technology.

“From our discussions with Iranian officials, we have learned that the biggest problem in the way of direct investment in Iran is the complications associated with financing. The possible solutions might be either to inspire more banks from Germany to get in financing projects with Iran or to have few banks in Iran with German licenses,” he said.

Asked about the impact of the election of the new US President Donald Trump on Iran-Germany relations, Meyer said, “The nuclear treaty is a treaty not just with the US. It’s a treaty with the US and other European states, including Germany. The Europeans have no reason to change the treaty or have the sanctions back on Iran.”

“I think we are here at the right moment after the American election. We can say okay we will go on. We are sending a right message.”

Meyer who had visited Hashtgerd, the industrial town in Alborz Province on Sunday said, “Today, Iran Samin paper mill held a ceremony to mark the start of using industrial machines made by their German partner from Schleswig-Holstein. I see this as a highlight of my trip to Iran.”

The minister noted that Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein are eager to forge ties with Iranian provinces and that during the German mission’s five-day stay, the delegation will also visit Bandar Abbas, Bandar Anzali and Rasht. The delegation will be back in Hamburg on November 17.

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