Iran, Italy close to settle banking hurdles in bilateral trade

Xinhua — The Islamic republic and Italy have taken major steps to resolve the remaining banking issues between the two countries within the next two months, Financial Tribune daily reported on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, two years after the removal of Iran’s nuclear-related sanctions, the volume of trade with Italy has not bounced back to its pre-sanctions level,” the head of Iran-Italy Chamber of Commerce, Ahmad Pour-Fallah, was quoted as saying.

“Banking obstacles and lack of insurance coverage have been the main reasons behind it,” Pour-Fallah was quoted as saying.

According to the report, the volume of Tehran-Rome trade was about 7 billion euros (8.16 U.S. dollars) in 2010, making Italy the largest trading partner of Iran among European nations.

However, the enforcement of international sanctions on Iran made it hard for Italy to maintain the high level of economic transactions and bilateral trade fell to 1.6 billion euros (1.8 U.S. dollars) in 2014.

Pour-Fallah expressed the hope that after banking issues between the two countries are resolved, bilateral trade would exceed 7 billion euros (8.16 U.S. dollars).

Pour-Fallah made the remarks as he is leading an Iranian delegation to attend the joint Business Forum on Banking, Insurance and Legal Issues in Rome. The delegation consisted of 25 representatives from industrial, mining, banking and insurance sectors.

“We have come here to negotiate with Italian bankers and insurance official to solve the problems as soon as possible and this is also an opportunity for Italian businesses to expand their economic relations with Iran,” he said.

On Tuesday, Iran urged European Union for more efforts to facilitate banking ties between EU countries and Iran.

Deputy Foreign Minister for American and European Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi said Tuesday that the European countries have not made enough efforts to persuade their banks to work with Iran.

He called for more steps on the issue in the face of U.S. fresh pressures, stressing the consequences for the possible U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal.