Iran’s economy won’t wait for Europe: TCCIMA head

October 9, 2019

TEHRAN – Head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (TCCIMA) warned Europeans that competitors would replace them in the Iranian market if they procrastinate any further.

“INSTEX, which was set to open a channel for financial interactions between European and Iranian companies, hasn’t started operating yet and it seems that this financial mechanism can no longer be trusted to work. The Iranian economy has no choice but to turn from the West and look for eastern partners,” Masoud Khansari said in an Iran-Germany business forum in Tehran on Wednesday.

The business forum was attended by officials from the two sides as well as representatives of Iranian and German companies.

As the fourth-largest economy in the world, unfortunately, Germany hasn’t shown much strength in the face of the U.S. sanctions and done little for continuing economic cooperation with Iran, Khansari said.

***U.S. sanctions impacts on Iran-Germany trade

Speaking in the event, Managing Director of Germany-Iran Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK Iran) Dagmar von Bohnstein said the current political situation (sanctions) is negatively affecting the economic relations between Iran and Germany.

The official noted that affected by the U.S. sanctions, the trade between the two countries fell about 49 percent in the first seven months of 2019 compared to the same period in the previous year.

The official noted that since U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal and re-imposition of sanctions, German companies have shown more willingness for continuing economic activities in Iran, compared to the other European countries, although their activities have also been affected by the U.S. sanctions.

She stressed the U.S. sanctions to be the biggest problem in the way of Iran-Germany economic relations, saying "Unfortunately, German companies have the most exports to the U.S. market and statistics show.

German exports to the United States totaled 58 billion euros in the first half of this year, while Germany's imports from the United States totaled 35 billion euros.”

According to the official, the German companies operating in Iran are active in a variety of fields, including machinery and industrial equipment, agriculture, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, renewables, and foodstuff.

Germany supports its traders in Iran

Elsewhere in the event, German Deputy Ambassador to Tehran Oliver Schnackenberg said the economic relations between Iran and Germany have been closed for a long time, and through the centuries’ long common economic history, there has been constructive cooperation between businessmen and engineers in both countries.

"The German government has tried to support German companies, but since the U.S. market is so important to German companies, we cannot fully protect them against sanctions," Schnackenberg said.

He further mentioned the German embassy’s plans for increasing the number of annual visas issued for Iranians, saying “At present, the German Embassy in Tehran is the largest visa-issuing center in Iran, and, we intend to increase our visa issuance capacity up to 65,000 visas per year.”

EF/MA

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