German minister hopes to boost trade with Iran visit
Economy Minister Werner Mueller begins a visit to Iran Sunday in the hope of reaping benefits for German business following the full restoration of bilateral relations between Tehran and Berlin earlier this year.
A large commercial trade delegation will be accompanying the minister for the three-day visit which coincides with an international trade fair in Tehran.
Mueller's trip follows an important visit to Germany in July by President Mohammad Khatami -- the first by an Iranian head of state to the country since the Shah in 1967.
That visit by Khatami marked the normalisation of bilateral ties which had been poisoned during the 1990s by the assassination of Iranian opposition Kurd leaders in Berlin and the detention of a German businessman in Tehran for having sexual relations with an Iranian woman.
German government sources said one should not expect the immediate announcement of multi-million-mark contracts. But the 40-strong delegation hopes to be offered some openings thanks to Mueller's ability to facilitate German exports.
Industrial construction and telecommunications companies are eager to gain better access to the Iranian market and its consumer potential.
Although Germany is Iran's leading supplier of goods, other countries have been catching up. In 1992, total bilateral trade amounted to over nine billion marks (4.5 billion euros, four billion dollars). By 1999 the figure had fallen to 3.1 billion marks. - (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)