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January 2018, No. 86


Trade & Business

Iran Holds Joint Meeting with
19 EU Members in Tehran

On Nov. 19, about 40 companies from 19 European countries met in Tehran to examine the capacity of cooperation with Iran. According to Phil Hogan, the EU Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development, it was a historic day between the European Union and Iran in the agricultural field. He said European and Iranian companies have initiated negotiations to expand trade between the two sides. These companies are active in sectors such as dairy products, meat, vegetables, chocolate, vegetable seeds for animal feed and other food products, and can provide good cooperation opportunities for joint activities. The meeting resulted in the signing of two memoranda of understanding between Iran and the European Union. One was on the production of seeds between Iranian and French companies and another between the European Union and the Federation of Food Industries, which are some of the first practical steps in the field of agriculture and food.

Hogan stressed that the opening of the European Union office in Iran is a political issue and is being followed up. The person in charge is Ms. Federica Mogherini. At the same time, however, Hogan insisted that the EU is fully committed to the Iran Nuclear Deal (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), and is moving in that framework and will not let it be violated even some opposed it.

The 94% increase in bilateral trade between Iran and Europe in agriculture field and food after the JCPOA was another issue the European official discussed during the visit. Hogan emphasized that, given the 94% growth in trade between Iran and Europe “we will not allow any country to violate the JCPOA.”

Europe Will Not Back Down on JCPOA

Hogan emphasized that the European Union will continue to engage with Iran in its pursuit of progress and will not back down from its stance on JCPOA. He added: “We are looking forward to implementation of this agreement, including removal of barriers on the banking and credit lines without which we would not be able to work. We need to define uniform standards that are of particular importance in maintaining food security. Considering that we have 20 EU members in our delegation, we can remove the tariff barriers as soon as possible, which will result in transparency and stability of the law.”

At the meeting, talks were held on export of pistachios, ostriches, trout, dairy products, and livestock products as well as the export of genuine Iranian horses to Europe. Hogan said, “We have received Iran’s demand for plant seed imports, but we ask Iran to inform us about the extent to which the parliament could agree to Tehran’s membership in the International Union for Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) membership

Iran A Good Consumer Market for European Union

Meanwhile, the EU commissioner, speaking at a meeting of EU high-level trade delegation and economic activists, reiterated that Iran, with a population of 80 million, was a good consumer market for the European Union. Pointing out that Iran is taking serious steps to improve its food industry, Hogan said, creating routes for joint cooperation in the food industry requires Iranian companies to recognize the needs of their customers and process high quality products. There also good work has been done to create food chains, according to the European official, while the EU has the most stringent standards for controlling food industry.

Jahangiri: Iran, A Very Reliable Partner

Hogan also met with First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri. In the meeting, Jahangiri described Iran as a very reliable partner for the European Union, and insisted that the EU should open a special account for cooperation with Iran. The VP said that before the sanctions were imposed, the EU was number one trade partner of Iran, and even certain EU members alone ranked first and second, but with the imposition of the sanctions, trade and economic cooperation with Iran fell sharply, nevertheless, Iran’s economy continued to grow. Jahangiri pointed to areas of cooperation in different sectors and the abundant capacities to develop relations in the fields of energy, industry, agriculture and services, and noted that with such potentials, it is possible to define joint projects worth tens of billions of dollars. The important thing for the parties is to have a strong resolve for implementation of the agreements so that they would not remain just on paper.

Noting that Iran-EU banking cooperation did not meet the expectations, Jahangiri said Iran is keen to deepen its economic cooperation with the European Union and welcomes joint investment not only for the Iranian market but also for the regional markets. According to Jahangiri, Iran has vast potentials in the agricultural, livestock, processing and fishery sectors to cooperate with the European Union. The Iranian government supports the talks and agreements between the commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development of the European Union and minister of agriculture jihad.

Jahangiri emphasized that Iran is keen to deepen its economic cooperation with the EU, not only for the Iranian market, but also for the European Union, according to the statement that the banking cooperation between Iran and EU member states was not expected. Regional markets welcome.

The EU commissioner said: “We are trying to say to the people of Europe and Iran that the JCPOA is a win-win agreement so is Iran-EU expanding relationship after the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

Pointing out that the EU High Representative Mogherini had asked him to ensure that the European Union will remain on the side of JCPOA, Hogan stated: “Ms. Mogherini has made it clear to the European Union that the EU will remain committed to JCPOA, and will try to convince its opponents to reconsider their stance.”

On the idea of opening an EU office in Tehran, Hogan said: “The European Union wants to have an office in Tehran in order to follow up the provisions of joint agreements more efficiently and more quickly.”

 

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  January 2018
No. 86