EghtesadOnline: The Financial Action Task Force blacklist means significantly increasing the cost of doing business with the outside world, a senior member of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture said.
Referring to the decision by the global anti-money laundering watchdog a week ago to put Iran on its blacklist, Hassan Forouzanfar said this will add to the already heavy foreign trade pressures on Iran, according to Financial Tribune.
“The decision has put a complete hold on our interaction…our trade relations will worsen and we could ultimately be forced to maintain our limited trade by spending more time and money,” IRNA quoted him as saying.
This includes using foreign intermediaries and higher expenses for money transfer, which finally increases costs for Iranian companies.
The global watchdog on Feb 21 put Iran on its blacklist after Tehran failed to comply with its anti-terrorism funding norms.
FATF had asked Iran to pass four bills as part of the “Action Plan” to escape the watchdog’s blacklist. Tehran managed to approve and enact amendments to counter-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering rules.
Two remaining bills, namely Palermo (convention against transnational organized crime) and terrorist financing conventions (CFT) failed to get approval by top legislative bodies.
No Big Deal
According to Forouzanfar, who also is head of the anti-money laundering commission of TCCIM, the watchdog decision is not expected to make a big difference in the short term or fully cut off Iran’s foreign trade.
“Being on the FATF blacklist cannot be interpreted as trade prohibition for Iran. It merely recommends member states to take due diligence with blacklisted countries”.
Referring to the variety of restrictions imposed earlier on Iran’s economy and its banking industry, Forouzanfar said FATF’s move was no “big deal”.
“We are already under great pressure. Blacklisting by the FATF won’t make a lot of difference because our overseas banking relations in the past were limited due to the US sanctions”.
The US-based think tank Atlantic Council had more or less a similar opinion. US secondary sanctions had severely constrained Iran’s limited access to global financial markets even before the Feb 21 FATF decision, the chamber official said.
Global banks are unlikely to do anything new in response to FATF’s call for counter-measures, economic experts in and outside Iran say.
Their argument is based on the premise that whatever could be done to harm Iranian banks and business was done long back by the United states and its allies. One asked “What else is left to destroy?”