EghtesadOnline: The new head of INSTEX, Michael Bock, who was in Tehran this week, says some small European banks are willing to join the barter trade mechanism.
According to Bock, small banks in Italy, Germany and France have announced readiness to operate within the system and handle the barter trade between Iranian and European companies, IRNA reported.
The German official assessed the dynamics of conducting trade within the new mechanism and got acquainted with potential businesses willing to join INSTEX, according to Hessamuddin Hallaj, the caretaker of International Deputy for Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.
Outlining details of Bock’s tour, he said the INSTEX chief was briefed about the capacities of Iran’s private sector, noting that it is working on measures to trigger INSTEX operations, according to Financial Tribune.
“To obtain data on companies and the products they wish to export to their European partners, we have issued a call to trade unions wanting to function within INSTEX,” he said.
INSTEX, or Instrument in Support of Trade Exchange, is a trade mechanism designed to facilitate trade with Iran and bypass United States sanctions.
It was set up in January as part of a broader effort by Germany, France and Britain — the so-called E3 — to preserve the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran after the US abandoned the deal last year.
Launching INSTEX was part of E3 attempts to show they can compensate for Iran’s lost economic interests enshrined in the nuclear deal.
Despite its creation almost nine months ago, the mechanism is not yet operational due to complex technical issues and European companies fear of being targeted by hostile US sanctions.
INSTEX will initially only deal with food and medical trade not Iran’s principal export - crude oil. This is while Iranian officials have repeatedly said INSTEX should include oil sales or provide substantial credit facilities for it to be beneficial.
“In order to put INSTEX into operation the mechanism has to go beyond the export of dried fruits and carpet and needs to be financed by purchasing Iranian metal products and petrochemicals,” Hallaj said.
Michael Bock traveled to Tehran at the weekend and conferred with the head of German-Iran Chamber of Industry and Commerce and representatives of German and Iranian companies.