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German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier

Germany Ready to Help Firms Keep Doing Business in Iran

Germany Ready to Help Firms Keep Doing Business in Iran

Germany is ready to help minimize the impact on its businesses of US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Friday.
“We are ready to talk to all the companies concerned about what we can do to minimize the negative consequences,” Altmaier told Deutschlandfunk radio. “That means it is concretely about damage limitation.”
Germany had no immediate reason to change its Hermes export guarantee scheme for Iran, Reuters reported.
The German minister said that at present, there is no reason to change the valued Hermes scheme.
“We are just starting a conversation about what the economic implications are and how we can avoid negative consequences for jobs in Germany,” he said
Altmaier noted that Germany had no legal means of protecting German companies that do business in the United States.
“What we are doing, however, is to assist and advise these (German) companies active in Iran, which want to be active in Iran and to advise them, including legally,” he added.
On tensions with the United States over the Iran issue, Altmaier said, “It is rather like the trade conflict with regard to the announced tariffs for steel and aluminum ... We must avoid entering into a spiral of escalation.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in a telephone call on Thursday that she supported maintaining the nuclear accord as long as Tehran upheld its side of the deal. French President Emmanuel Macron told Rouhani the same a day earlier.
Germany, France and Britain want talks to be held in a broader format on Iran’s ballistic missile program and its regional activities, including in Syria and Yemen.
Germany’s VDMA engineering association said on Tuesday that as long as the European Union does not reactivate sanctions against Iran, German companies can legally do business with Iran and the VDMA will support them in that.
“The political ball is now in Tehran’s court after US President Donald Trump’s announcement,” said VDMA Managing Director Thilo Brodtmann, adding that the best solution would be for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to be upheld even without the United States.
“As long as the EU doesn’t reactivate its sanctions against Iran, legal business with Iran continues to be possible for German businesses and the VDMA will continue to support its members in doing that,” Brodtmann said.
The president of Germany’s BGA foreign trade association said on Tuesday he regretted Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and feared it would exacerbate uncertainty among German companies.
BGA President Holger Bingmann said US authorities should publish guidelines for dealing with the new situation as soon as possible, but added: “Even that will only be able to limit slightly the chaos we now expect.”
Iran traded $3.44 billion worth of non-oil goods with Germany during the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2018)–20.51% more compared to the year before, making the European country Iran’s seventh biggest trading partner.
According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration's data, Iran exported 48,742 tons of commodities worth $359.73 million to Germany last year, posting a 25.52% and 12.49% growth in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year.
The exports mainly included floorings, pistachio and animal intestine.
Germany exported 1.05 million tons of goods worth $3.08 billion to Iran during the period review, up 8.98% and 21.52% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
The imported goods from Germany to Iran mainly included motor vehicles, barley and turbojet parts.

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