Re-Establishment of Italy’s Pre-JCOPA Ties with Iran Takes Time

Re-Establishment of Italy's Pre-JCOPA Ties with Iran Takes Time
Pourfall at the Leonardo Prize Ceremony (photo from PIMI Portal Archive)

Iranian co-chair of Iran-Italy Chamber of Commerce says, trade with Italy will be restored slower than expected following international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear deals. The news portal of Tehran Chamber of “CIMA” (Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture) has published his opinion.

“Ahmad Pourfallah” the Iran-Italy Chamber of Commerce has notified that: “Trade between the two countries stood at €7.7 billion a decade ago, but the same figure decreased to €1.4 billion over last six years and the slowdown remained stuck for three years”

The unraveling of sanctions regime marked the end of the downtrend in the two countries’ economic relations. Following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [the formal name of the nuclear pact Iran signed with major powers], several Italian delegations, including representatives of their private sector, diplomats and government officials, visited Iran.

Italy’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development “Carlo Calenda” headed a 370-strong trade delegation that comprised representatives of key Italian companies and banking groups to Tehran a few months after “JCPOA” was signed in July 2015.

Later in January 2016, President Hassan Rouhani paid a visit to Rome—the first foreign visit by the Iranian president after the implementation of the nuclear pact. About €17 billion worth of deals were signed during the visit. Three months later, former Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, led a 250-strong business delegation to the Iranian capital in April 2016.

“Hopes of improving Iran-Italy trade have been given a boost in recent years, but the restoration of economic ties has not been fully realized,” Pourfallah said.

Although Iranian banks were barred from international transaction system Swift under sanctions and well after their removal for quite some time, the two countries continued their efforts to boost bilateral trade.

“In fact, trade between the two countries has improved by €500 million over the past three months. Many second- and third-tier Italian banks are working with Iranian banks and Italian top-tier banks are likely to follow suit in the not-too-distant future,” he said.

The Iranian official said Italy is the biggest buyer of Iranian oil and the European country is Iran’s top trading partner in the European Union.

“Italy is the only country in the European Union with whom we actually have a trade surplus. SACE, the Italian export credit agency was the first to cover trading with Iran by up to €5 billion,” he said.

According to Eurostat’s data shared with Financial Tribune, Iran exported €2.77 billion worth of goods to the European Union in the first quarter of 2017, registering a sixfold rise compared with the preceding year’s corresponding period.

Italy was the biggest importer from Iran in the first quarter among all European states, as it bought €807.4 million worth of Iranian goods during the period. And Iran imported €2.52 billion worth of commodities from the European Union during the same period, recording a %56 rise year-on-year.

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Re-Establishment of Italy’s Pre-JCOPA Ties with Iran Takes Time
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