UK companies eye Iranian food market – trade official
Tehran, Iran, Nov.26
According to Director of the Department for International Trade at the British Embassy in Tehran, the companies in the UK are interested in Iranian market, however creating financial channels for transaction is the priority to run the business.
" We expect Iranians to be patient, we also have asked British companies to consider Iran's market and its opportunities," British official Keith Wellings told ILNA.
The re-imposed US sanctions hit Iran oil, financial and shipping sectors, however trade of food and medical fields were exempted.
"Food trade is an important issue in Iran and the EU's export and import. The White House has announced food and medicine are exempted from sanctions, therefore we are ready for any opportunity to increase trade ties with Iran," Wellings said, referring to Iran's agricultural industry.
"The question is that if there are proper financial channels to do it , the important thing is that how can EU support special channels for trades between the EU and Iranian companies? However we should continue negotiations with the EU to know their views on the food and medicine trade under sanctions," said Wellings.
" Lots of work should be done, but we do not undermine the opportunity . Iran has population of 80 million, this is a big prospect for UK and EU to provide food to this market," he noted.
The European Union has proposed the creation of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) proposal, for Iran transaction and an alternative for SWIFT, but so far the plan has not been realized.
UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's recent trip to Tehran has brought the speculations that UK intend to improve trade relations with Iran.
"I have not read Hunt's report on Iran. As far as I know it was a good trip and talks were positive. In terms of UK, I can assure that we continue this issue to operate SPV, so the work will be easier and we witness progress," Wellings said.
"The process takes time and to create financial channels, we should be patient. Transaction according to Euro, Pound or the currency of the hosting country are the issues that should be considered," he noted.
Referring to future of agricultural ties between Iran and the UK, the official noted that Great Britain supports The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action alongside other EU members.
"But considering the effects of the US sanctions on our agricultural and food ties, I have to say there are many issues to be discussed. We can not ignore the opportunity for Europe. The current situation created many opportunities to trade with Iran but the financial mechanism should functioning," Wellings explained.