Mar 29, 2021, 11:26 AM
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US sanctions only obstacle on expansion of Iran-Europe trade: Iranian official

Tehran, March 29, IRNA – A senior official in Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization said on Monday that the country had a great capacity in export of goods and services to European Union if US sanctions were removed.

Behrouz Olfat, Director-General of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran for Europe and America, said in an interview with IRNA that Iran’s imports from Europe amounted to 15 billion dollars and exports stood on 2 billion dollars, but since the United States resumed its unilateral sanction after withdrawing from the JCPOA, Iran’s total trade with Europe has decreased to one-third.

He said that Iran’s imports from Europe amounted to 4.5 billion dollars in the past 11 months and its exports were 500 million dollars in that period, representing a 33 percent decrease compared to the previous year.

Referring to the new US administration, Olfat underlined that figures showed no changes in parts of Iranian economy impacted by sanctions, despite Washington’s verbal insistence that it would rejoin the JCPOA.

He also emphasized that US returning to the JCPOA makes sense for Iran only if all sanctions are removed.

The official said Iran’s approval of FATF, which has been accepted by most of world countries, would improve Iran’s trade ties and if it is accompanied by lifting sanction, it would positively impact Iran’s trade with other countries.

On the economic structure of Iran, Olfat stated that Iran’s economy has been suffering from sanction for several years and this has caused a special economic system to develop which has had little ties with the global economy

However, he went on to say, Europe has serious links to the global economic system; a fact that represents the biggest problem in Iran-Europe trade relations.

Iran and Europe lack sufficient knowledge of each other’s markets, he said, adding that the coronavirus pandemic caused Iran’s knowledge-based activities to remain mostly unknown for European countries.

This has caused Europeans, according to Olfat, to see Iran only as a market, while Iran has enough capacity to undertake part of Europe’s production chain.

He said that Europe-Iran Business Forum held last month provided an environment for Iranian and European businesses to get familiar and alleviate the cold atmosphere in Iran-Europe trade to some extent.

Olfat hoped that current plans designed by Iran for foreign trade would keep it in current level with sanctions in place, adding that if sanctions are removed, there will be no hurdle to expand and improve trade ties with other counties.

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