Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.4
By Fatih Karimov - Trend: A new chapter has begun in economic relations between Iran and France, IRNA quoted Iranian Deputy Economy Minister Behrouz Alishiri as saying on Feb. 4.
In a meeting with a delegation of French businessmen in Tehran on Monday, Alishiri said that the two countries have so far signed a double taxation avoidance agreement, but no deal has been signed to boost customs cooperation.
A draft for customs cooperation was submitted to the French government 11 years ago, Alishiri added.
A delegation of more than 100 French companies arrived in Tehran on Monday in the biggest demonstration of western business interest in Iran for more than a decade, Financial Times reported.
The three-day visit, which includes top French companies such as oil giant Total, engineer Alstom, telecoms group Orange and carmaker Renault, has raised hopes in Iran that an interim deal on its nuclear program could lead to a return of foreign investment.
France is moving quickly to take advantage of last month's potential opening up of a big new market for its companies.
Medef, the employers' federation which is leading the French delegation, said it had received huge demand when it announced the trip after making a preliminary visit in December.
Renault, which was selling nearly 100,000 cars a year in Iran before sanctions came into force, has already resumed shipments to Iran and expects its car production in the country to pick up in the first half of this year.
Rival French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroën, which sold 458,000 cars in Iran in 2011, accounting for nearly a third of the total market, is also poised to return to the country, its second largest market after France.
Edited by C.N.