Italy Signals Desire to Strengthen Trade with Iran
Fueled by the Republic of Iran's improving standing in the international
business community, Italy has expressed its hopes for expanding trade with
"We have considerable demand for Iran, particularly for industrial projects," a spokesman for Italy's SACE credit agency recently conveyed, adding that transactions should be balanced with the level of exposure.
In August 1999, Medicredito Centrale and Banca Commerciale Italiana extended
a $1 billion credit line to Iran's five main commercial banks, MEED reported. MEED said that although the line has still to be activated, three to four large projects are pending.
Last year, Italian exports to Iran slumped by 17 percent. Sales by the
European nation in the first three months of 2000 dipped a further 26 percent to $151 million, as imports from Iran expanded by 97 per cent to over $500 million, according to Eurostat statistics.
Italy's oil companies, including ENI which already boasts a share in the
development of Iran's Doroud Oil Field, are aiming to further build relations with Iran.
Italy, is and has been a major buyer of Iranian oil. Italy is interested in
Iran's huge oil and gas resources, and wants to sell the nation more food,
agricultural products and pharmaceuticals. Hundreds of Italian companies
currently conduct business with Iran. Italy's ENI and France's
Gulf-Aquitaine signed a $540 million oil deal with Tehran last year to
develop a northern Gulf oil field.
An Iranian official indicated that the current volume of trade between Iran
and Italy is approximately $2 billion per year. An official for Italy's
Institute of Foreign trade announced that in the first seven months of 1999 (from January to July), Italy had imported equal to 1,339 billion lire from
Iran (mostly oil), while during the same period, it exported 794.4 billion
lire worth of export to Iran. Iranian non-oil exports to Italy consist mainly of animal skins, carpets, dried fruits, steel, canned fruits and fruit concentrates.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)