( IRNA ) - Investors and businessmen of Iran and Portugal here Monday agreed to open a new phase of bilateral cooperation, in particular between their private sectors.
Iranian and Portuguese businessmen attended a day-long conference in Lisbon, Portugal organized by the Portuguese Association of Industries (AIP) to discuss trade and investment opportunities in Iran.
Tens of managers and representatives of Portugal's leading trade and industrial companies, including Cipan pharmaceutical company, a company producing spare parts for Yazaki autos and the Olive House, along with a number of Iranian industrialists and businessmen headed by Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines head Mohammad Nahavandian took part in the conference.
The deputy head of the Institute for Commerce and Export of Portugal (ICEP), Manuel Gaeiras, said the institute has plans to re-open its bureau in Tehran to expand trade and economic ties with Iran.
Portugal closed its ICEP bureau in Tehran five years ago after a notable decline in the volume of Portuguese exports to Iran.
Gaeiras said the bureau hopes to resume its activities in Tehran next year given the positive trend in commercial exchanges between the two countries in various fields.
The manager of the commerce department of Cipan, Jova Valente, likewise said the company plans to re-open its trade office in Tehran.
He said that the decision to close the office in Tehran was a "tragic mistake."
The AIP managing director also expressed willingness to boost trade ties between the two countries' private sectors to meet mutual as well as regional demand.
Nahavandian, for his part, assessed the current situation for expanded trade between the two countries as "favorable" and providing a "unique opportunity."
He said the conference opened a significant opportunity for Portugal to address its need for a wider international market for its goods, adding it was also important for Iran because of the country's strategic decision to privatize most economic activities in the country.
He cited the mines, oil, gas, petrochemical, tourism, foodstuff, banking and power plant sectors as favorable areas for bilateral economic cooperation.
Iranian Ambassador to Lisbon Mohammad Taheri praised the giant economic market that is opening up for Portuguese private sector businesses in Iran.
"The business climate in Iran provides Portugues businessmen and investors with the opportunity to step up their activities in a big market," he added.
Participants at the conference discussed practical ways for bolstering their bilateral cooperation.
The Iranian embassy in Portugal placed the value of commercial exchanges between Tehran and Lisbon at EUR 218 million in 2006, showing a rise of EUR 92 million from the previous year.
Iran exported oil valued at EUR 206 million and non-oil products worth EUR 14 million to Portugal in 2006.
Portugal exported some EUR 12 million non-oil commodities to Iran in 2006.
According to the Iranian Customs Administration, Portugal ranks 69th and 63rd in the list of top importers and exporter of goods from and to Iran respectively.