Tehran, Iran, May 3
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
Iran and Germany today had their most recent gathering intended to pursue economic cooperation. Tehran hosted the German-Iranian Business Forum, attended by 150 German officials and businesspeople.
Today's event was the continuation of bilateral economic relations established over four centuries ago by an Iranian business delegation which paid a visit to Germany in 1600. The two countries signed their first ever economic document in 1875.
Germany used to be Iran's biggest business partner before economic sanctions against Iran were intensified in recent years. At the pre-sanctions time bilateral trade stood at $2.5 billion, but the number shrunk later.
Last July, a few days after Iran's landmark nuclear deal with world powers was made with the prospect of lifting the sanctions, German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel was the first top European official to visit Tehran, bringing a message of friendship and a perspective of big time business cooperation.
During today's forum, several companies from the two sides signed cooperation agreements. Before any of these companies, the German delegation leader and Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy Uwe Beckmeyer and Iranian Deputy Minister of Economy Mohammad Khazaei signed a 40-page cooperation overview.
Among the signed memorandums of understanding there is one inked between the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mine and Agriculture and the German strategy consulting firm Roland Berger.
"Through this agreement we want to help investors and businessmen from Iran and Germany to join and start business," Ferial Mostofi, a member of the board of representatives at the Iranian chamber, told Trend May 3.
"Iranians want joint venture, production here, and export to neighboring countries. They demand investment in the form of technology and management. And the German firm is ready to offer consultation, legal affairs and rating services. German companies, on the other hand, demand security of investment, which can be found here in Iran as a safe and sound country," she added.
Trend also had an interview with Iranian Ambassador to Germany Ali Majedi, who expressed happiness that Iran and Germany have entered a new phase of cooperation to develop bilateral trade.
"Iran has the potential to be the spot for the start of regional development. The European Union has only the Middle East to consider doing business with, because East Asia and the Americas are already out of its reach," he said.
"Germans are in particular going to cooperate in educating Iranians, as well as Afghan workforce working in Iran. Their oil and gas companies are also interested in field development in Iran. An example is Wintershall, which has shown interest in working at the oil fields in Iran," added Majedi.
In July 2015, BASF's Wintershall oil and gas exploration subsidiary signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Iranian Oil Company to prepare for possible activities in the region.
Sources in the Iranian Oil Ministry had said the two companies want to study four oil fields in western Iran.
Mehdi Sepahvand is Trend Agency's Tehran-based reporter. Follow him on Twitter @mehdisepahvand