|Iran, Italy discuss ways to expand banking, industrial ties||
TEHRAN – Iran and Italy have discussed ways to expand economic ties, especially in the banking and industrial sectors.
The director general for Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Promotion Department Andrea Meloni heading a business delegation met with the Iranian presidential chief of staff Mohammad Nahavandian in Tehran on Thursday.
The delegation was comprised of managers from both Italian state-run and private economic enterprises.
Italy has been leading the charge in recent months to reenter the Iranian market as EU sanctions against Iran have been eased, the Mehr News Agency quoted Nahavandian as saying.
He added that Italy has potential to expand services to Iran in the food, machinery, and renewable energy sectors.
Meloni also met with the director of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Valiollah Afkhami-Rad.
In this meeting, Afkhami-Rad said Iran offers special facilities such as long-term tax exemption and visa-free travel to attract foreign investors to its free and special economic zones.
The Iranian automotive sector is ready to launch joint ventures with Italian partners, he added.
Iran exported $200.69 million worth of non-oil goods to Italy and imported $849.33 million worth of non-oil goods from the European country in the previous Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 20, 2014, according to the Iran Customs Administration.
According to the Italian-Iranian chamber of commerce, annual trade between the two countries has grown notably since 2002, reaching its peak of $9.7 billion dollars in 2011.
However, after the European Union’s decision of widening commercial sanctions against Iran, the bilateral trade in the first eleven months of 2012 was halved to $4.8 billion. Italy remains Iran’s top European trade partner.
At a meeting with the visiting Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino last December, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Italy should maintain its role as a gateway for Iran to interact with Europe.
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