Iran, Slovenia can reach $1bn trade: Chamber of Commerce

The two countries’ mutual trade has fallen to less than 100 million dollars under the current US sanctions. But, deputy ICCIMA for international affairs says there is a huge potential to raise the trade to one billion dollars.

13 April 2019
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The two countries’ mutual trade has fallen to less than 100 million dollars under the current US sanctions. But, deputy ICCIMA for international affairs says there is a huge potential to raise the trade to one billion dollars.

Mohammad Reza Karbasi, Deputy for International Affairs at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), right, holds talks with Slovenian business delegation led by Alenka Suhadolnik, Director General for Economic and Public Diplomacy at the Slovenian Foreign Ministry. (Credit: Iran Chamber Newsroom)

The Iranian private sector says bilateral trade with Slovenia can reach one billion dollars.

“The bilateral trade between Iran and Slovenia did not only decrease but also rose reached 180 million dollars,” said Mohammad Reza Karbasi, Deputy for International Affairs at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) during a meeting with a high-level Slovenian diplomat in Tehran.

“Unfortunately,- he went on to say- this trade exchange has been reduced under the current sanctions and stands at 100 million dollars or even less than that.”

He was speaking with Alenka Suhadolnik, Director General for Economic and Public Diplomacy at the Slovenian Foreign Ministry, who was leading an economic delegation to Iran. She said Slovenia has the will to raise bilateral trade with Iran.

Suhadolnik noted that one Slovenian pharmaceutical company is already exporting medicine to Iran, stressing that two firms, active in producing halal meat, are also prepared to cooperate with Iran.  

Tehran and Ljubljana have the potential to increase their bilateral trade in various fields such as energy, transport, food stuff as well as technical and engineering services to up to one billion dollars, according to Karbasi.

He stressed that Iran Chamber of Commerce, that serves as the country’s private sector parliament, is prepared to receive business delegations from this European country.

The businessman touched on the European payment channel with Iran, called INSTEX, saying the Iranian private sector is “disappointed at Europe and is looking East”. The Slovenian official expressed hope the instrument be implemented soon.

The Instrument In Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) was created by three European countries, France, Germany, the UK, in January to ease trade of non-sanctioned items with Iran. However, it hasn't been fully operationed so far. Tehran has also registered a similar company, but no further details have been provided. 

The director general for economic and public diplomacy at the Slovenian Foreign Ministry earlier met with Iranian women entrepreneurs at Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (TCCIM), Financial Tribune reports.   

According to Suhadolnik, the World Economic Forum report in 2018 ranked Slovenia 11th among 149 countries in terms of women’s status.

“This is while more than 10 years ago, Slovenia was placed 51st among 115 countries surveyed at the time,” she said.

Noting that the share of women in the management board of largest listed companies in Slovenia is increasing, the visiting European official added that a 40% target by 2020 has been set for women in managerial positions.

Iran is ranked 142nd in the latest World Economic Forum annual report on “The Global Gender Gap”—a two-notch drop from last year’s 140th.

The WEF report gave Iran a score of 0.589 in terms of women’s parity with men (0.00 suggesting absolute imparity and 1.00 indicating complete parity).

The 2018 report covers 149 countries and quantifies the magnitude of gender disparities and tracks their progress over time, with a specific focus on gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics.

Iran ranked 143rd for economic participation and opportunity with a score of 0.376, 103rd for educational attainment with a score of 0.969, 127th for health and survival with a score of 0.966 and 141st for political empowerment with a score of 0.046, according to the paper.  

WEF says Iran maintains steady, modest progress on the Economic Participation and Opportunity sub-index—albeit from a low base—due to an increase in the share of women in professional and technical roles.

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