EghtesadOnline: High-level representatives of the private sectors of Iran and Slovakia have met to discuss ways of boosting bilateral trade that they perceive is now at a much lower volume than it has the potential to be.
A commercial delegation from the Yasouj Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture has met with counterparts in a business conference called the Slovakia Matchmaking Fair Bratislava 2018, according to a report on Saturday by the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
During a meeting with officials from the Bratislava Chamber of Commerce, YCCIMA president said Iran-Slovakia ties have been on the rise in several areas, adding that high-level officials have visited each other’s countries and signed several agreements and memoranda of understanding that show their willingness to further boost ties.
“The potential of collaborations between the two countries is aplenty, but in spite of political willingness and the legal prerequisites in place, the volume of trade is much lower than the capacities,” Financial Tribune quoted Jabar Kianipour as saying.
The official, who also heads the Iran-Slovakia Commercial Committee, said Iranian companies are increasingly focusing on the capacities of collaboration offered by Slovakian counterparts. He added that Iran welcomes the rising presence of its companies in Slovakia.
According to Kianipour, the joint committee will soon convene in Iran, something that will help boost business relations.
“We hope that during the committee's meeting or in the run-up to it, solutions will be found to some of our banking issues,” he said, referring to banking problems as the most serious challenge facing traders of the two countries in boosting ties.
The Bratislava official said his side also welcomes expansion of trade ties, as they have been increasingly focusing on this in recent years by sending several commercial delegations to Iran.
“Following the JCPOA [Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers], Slovakian officials tried to boost trade ties, but we are now facing unilateral US sanctions,” said Igor Jonas, the president of Bratislava Chamber of Commerce.
He emphasized that the European Union stands with Iran on this issue, adding that Slovakia is ready to boost bilateral relations with Iran.
Ebadollah Molaei, Iran’s ambassador to Austria, who was also present in the meeting, lauded efforts by the Bratislava Chamber of Commerce to boost ties.
“Unilateral US sanctions are illegal as the US disregards international laws while Iran remains committed to the contents of JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” the ambassador said, stressing that Iran will overcome this problem.
The Iranian delegation also participated in another meeting, this time with counterparts at the Slovak Chamber of Commerce.
During the meeting, Kianipour noted that Iran-Slovakia relations strengthened when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif visited the country earlier this year.
"Many Iranian traders view Slovakia as a good opportunity in terms of joint investments and bilateral relations," he said.
Referring to the Iran-Slovakia committee as a good opportunity to boost ties, Kianipour said Iran expects Slovakia to help Iran counter the US sanctions by boosting trade.
President of the Slovak Chamber of Commerce Robert Mijouk said the entity opposes any sanctions that disrupt the flow of global trade, stressing his support for the European stance on JCPOA.
He welcomed the formation of a joint committee in Iran to boost trade, saying it is necessary for a similar mechanism in Slovakia to support the development of commercial ties.
The Iranian ambassador referred to Iran as a peace-seeking country and a major regional player. He noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency recently announced for the 13th time that Iran has remained committed to its JCPOA promises, providing full access to investigators.
"We have been committed to JCPOA and these sanctions are imposed by someone who has not been faithful to his commitments," Molaei said in reference to incumbent US President Donald Trump.
"We hope to be able to manage this challenging period through cooperation with Europe, including Slovakia," he added.