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EghtesadOnline: The government of Brazil is to allocate $1.2 billion for maintaining its considerable economic and trade ties with Iran in the face of reinstated US sanctions.

According to the Latin American nation's ambassador to Iran, the allocation of funds, to be handed out to Brazilian businesspeople wishing to work with Iranian counterparts, is in the "final stages".

"This credit is to be allocated by the Brazilian Development Bank," Rodrigo de Azeredo Santos was also quoted as saying by the website of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture on Sunday.

"But since this credit is only related to goods and services other than agricultural products, the capacities of other banks must be tapped in the agriculture sector," Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.

Santos was addressing a joint meeting of Iranian and Brazilian representatives. 

The Iranian side was led by Kaveh Zargaran, the co-chair of Iran-Brazil Chamber of Commerce. Others participants included members of Iran-Brazil Parliamentary Friendship Group, a representative of the Central Bank of Iran, director general of the Foreign Ministry's Department of South America, the head of planning and market management at the Industries Ministry, representatives of an unnamed private bank and a group of Iranian traders active in the Brazilian market.

According to Santos, the Brazilian government has considered the funds to cooperate with Iran for creating jobs and transferring technology to establish long-term trade ties.

"The Central Bank of Brazil sees no obstacles to the presence of Iranian banks in Brazil and believes that this will help promote the continued financial cooperation of two countries," he said.

Banking Cooperation 

The idea of Iranian banks opening branches in Brazil has been floated multiple times since the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in January 2016. 

Santos had also said in September 2017 that Iranian banks will be able to open branches in Brazil after following due process like the banks of any other nation, as the South American country welcomes expansion of trade ties with Iran.

"In order to help promote trade, foreign banks, including those of Iran, are able to act in line with establishing a branch and engaging in banking activities in Brazil without any restrictions," he had said at the time.

The Central Bank of Iran has held several rounds of negotiations with Brazilian counterparts to remove banking barriers. No tangible results have materialized yet.

In his meeting with Iranian counterparts, Santos stressed that Brazil wishes to continue economic and trade relations with Iran even after a fresh round of US sanctions snap back in early November.

On the other side, Zargaran pointed to the importance of establishing active banking ties between the two countries in order to maintain bilateral relations in the face of US sanctions.

"It is necessary that we consider suitable solutions to maintain banking relations in proportion to the high volume of Iran-Brazil trade because active banking relations are one of the main priorities," he said.

The total volume of Brazil's exports to Iran was estimated to be $2.55 billion in 2017. Of this amount, about $780 million consisted of corn exports, $560 million pertained to meat and $470 million was for soybean. 

Based on these figures, Zargaran said Iran comprises 17% of all Brazilian corn exports, 12% of meat exports and 4% of soybean exports.

"To maintain Iran's market, the Brazilian government must pay more attention to private sector demands," he said.

Zargaran, who is also the director of the Federation of Iranian Food Associations and a member of the Agriculture and Food Industries Commission of Iran Chamber of Commerce, was chosen as the head of Iran-Brazil Chamber of Commerce a year ago when the chamber was formed.

The joint chamber was first convened on July 16, 2017.


Brazil US sanctions Iran trade