Iranians wary as Europe rushes for trade

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On November 28, 2015, Posted by , In News, With 1 Comment

A delegation of about 370 Italian traders is expected to arrive in Tehran on Saturday to discuss business opportunities in a country which is about to emerge from Western sanctions.

Representatives of medical, green energy, automobiles, construction and manufacturing industries will be visiting Iran for three days.

Delegates include executives of steel group Danieli, energy company Enel, agricultural machinery maker CNH Industrial, Telecom Italia and several banks, president of the Italian Trade Commission Riccardo Monti said.

Italy was one of Iran’s biggest trading partners before sanctions, with Monti saying his country needed to “recover some of the lost time”.

Monti sees Italian exports rising to 2 billion euros next year from 1.2 billion euros in 2014.

Germany, France, the UK, Austria, Italy and Spain have already sent their ministers to Iran. Austrian President Heinz Fischer became the first head of state to visit the country in more than 10 years.

Britain’s second most powerful man, George Osborne, has said he wanted to take the country’s biggest-ever trade delegation to Iran once the sanctions are lifted.

But Iranians are wary that some European countries might be coveting the country’s market of 80 million people as a mere destination for exports instead of making investment.

Conspicuous by their absence in visits to Iran are European banking majors which are reluctant to finance potential investors lest they exact US punishment.

Iran, instead, is betting on foreign investment and technology transfer to resurrect its oil, gas and other industries in order to fire back its stagnant economy.

For now, eyes are on the “implementation day” when the West begins lifting sanctions – Iranian officials see it in early 2016 – to gauge European commitment to a “win-win” situation.

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