EghtesadOnline: In a business forum held in Rome on Monday, scores of Italian investors and economic officials voiced readiness to further expand their presence in various Iranian projects once all banking obstacles are removed.
The event, which was aimed at introducing Iran’s economic and investment opportunities, saw the participation of scores of Italian entrepreneurs and investors, as well as a number of political and economic officials from both countries, Mehr News Agency reported on Tuesday.
Participants in the forum stressed that the persistence of banking obstacles is the main issue hindering the development of economic relations between the two countries, stressing that economic and industrial cooperation between Tehran and Rome would begin first with the serious start of financial and banking cooperation, according to Financial Tribune.
“We will make every effort within the framework of the Iran nuclear deal to remove financial issues for the Italian companies, which are interested in investing in Iran,” the Italian deputy FM, Benedetto Della Vedova, said at the forum.
Managing Director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines Mohammad Saeidi also extended invitations to Italian investors to participate in Iran’s maritime transportation projects.
Following a visit to Rome by an Iranian delegation earlier this month to attend a joint business forum on banking, insurance and legal issues, the head of Iran-Italy Chamber of Commerce, Ahmad Pour-Fallah, said the remaining banking issues between the two countries will be resolved within two months.
He hoped that after banking issues between the two countries are resolved, bilateral trade would exceed €7 billion.
“Italian firms are currently determined to work with Iran but due to a complicated banking system influenced by US-based banks, major international and Italian lenders still cannot engage in financial relations with Iran,” said the co-chairman of Iran-Italy Chamber of Commerce, Pier Luigi d’Agata, at the earlier forum.
Following the signing of the Iran nuclear deal dubbed JCPOA in 2015, Italy was the first and most eager European country to send a high-ranking delegation to Iran for expansion of economic ties.
Italy has one of the biggest trade turnovers with Iran among all European states. Iran’s bilateral trade with Italy stood at $1.68 billion in the last fiscal year, up 8.61% YOY. Iran exported $460.69 million worth of goods to Italy, down 28.47% and imported $1.22 billion, up 34.85% YOY.
Iran-Italy trade peaked at $2.74 billion in the fiscal March 2004-5 over the last 16 Iranian years and reached its lowest level of $1.04 billion in March 2013-14.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Railways signed a €1.2 billion deal with its Italian counterpart in July for establishing a high-speed railroad between the Iranian cities of Qom and Arak.
The agreement was formally signed during the visit of Renato Mazzoncini, CEO of Italy’s state railroad company Ferrovie dello Stato, and an accompanying delegation to Tehran.
In October, Italian Azimut Group signed an agreement to acquire a 20% stake in Mofid Entekhab, an asset management company in Iran.
Mofid Entekhab is a subsidiary of Mofid Group, the largest brokerage firm and financial advisory in the country, the joint press release of the two companies reads.
Azimut is the first global financial institution entering with an equity investment in a company providing financial services licensed by the local regulator, Securities and Exchange Organization of Iran.