Iran-Europe Forum seeks to revive trade

The second Europe-Iran Forum will be held in Geneva on Thursday and Friday to discuss reviving trade links which have hit a bottom low because of sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.

As many as 500 representatives of companies from Iran and Europe will meet for the first investment conference since the conclusion of nuclear talks with Tehran in July.

French transport and electricity generation group Alstom, German electric utilities company RWE and Tehran Stock Exchange and the National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) are some of the companies which will be attending the event.

The first Europe-Iran Forum was held in London last October with the participation of 25 countries including the US which was represented by telecoms equipment giant Cisco Systems and Citigroup.

Summing up the international trade interest in Iran, head of advertising giant WPP Martin Sorrell told the event, “Apart from Mars and the Moon”, there are not many untapped opportunities left of the scale which exist in Iran.

Businesses hope the new conference will help them draw up plans for re-engaging with the Iranian market in anticipation of the removal of sanctions.

There is already a surge of interest among Western businesses and investors even though the most stifling sanctions on Iran’s banking and oil sectors remain in place.

Switzerland became the first country to lift trading restrictions on Iran last month, but companies are still bound by US and European Union bans for now.

European governments, however, are undeterred. 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 Representatives of about 200 French companies are currently visiting Tehran, looking to exploit opportunities in the country.

On Sunday, Total’s president of exploration and production Arnaud Breuillac held talks with NIOC officials. Iran’s oil and gas is the most attractive sector to foreign investors, with about 50 projects worth $185 billion marked out for presentation to prospective developers.

PressTV:Wed Sep 23, 2015 

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