TEHRAN (Iran News) – Chairman of Iran-Italy Joint Chamber of Commerce says that Italian companies are still eager to engage in trade with Iran and are preparing to return to the Islamic Republic and the chamber with its more than 5,000 members has recommended then to get prepared for the return.
Speaking to ILNA, Ahmad Pourfallahian said, “Many Italian companies are preparing to re-enter Iran after the sanctions are lifted and in this regard, we have advised the 5000 members we have in the Iran-Italy Chamber of commerce to be prepared as well.”
In the previous period, unfortunately, we were not prepared and could not benefit from the opportunity created by the arrival of various business groups from Europe, especially Italy and Germany, the official regretted.
“After the lifting of the previous sanctions, we saw the largest presence of Italian businessmen in Iran. Even the first high-ranking political figure to come to Iran was the Italian Foreign Minister, and the Italian Prime Minister also visited Iran; this shows how much Italy is interested in collaborating with Iran,”
“For many years, Italy was our first trading partner and the only European country with which our trade balance was positive,” he added. He added that Iran’s sales to Italy have been more because Italy used to buy oil only from Iran and its refineries and petrochemical industry was adjusted to Iran’s oil.
Pourfallahian noted that some 9 years ago, Iran’s trade volume with Italy was around $7b per year but it is currently limited to under one billion dollars due to the sanctions but it has not completely been cut and most of small and medium size companies have retained their trade with Iran.
Mentioning the potential impact of the lifting of sanctions on trade between the two countries, the official said: “It is expected that immediately after the lifting of sanctions, Italian companies and entrepreneurs will flock to the Iranian market.”
In response to a question about the number of Italian companies ready to enter the Islamic Republic, he said: “We do not have specific statistics on the number of Italian companies that have announced their readiness to pursue their activities in Iran, but all Italian and Iranian members of the joint chamber in Rome, which are more than 105 companies, are ready to resume their activities in Iran.”
Regarding Iran’s blocked resources in Italy, Pourfallah said: “According to the latest official data, we do not have a large amount of money blocked in Italy and the figure is lower than Iran’s frozen assets in many other countries.”
“We have never had a problem with Italy on this issue like other countries,” he stressed.
He also called for resolving the FATF bill in the country, saying that if Iran does not join the FATF and Palermo agreement, even removal of sanctions will not help Iran’s trade.