Food trade between Iran and the European Union has leaped by 94% since the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed in July 2015, says the head of EU’s Agriculture and Rural Development Commission, Phil Hogan, who is leading a 70-member delegation from 19 European countries to the Iranian capital, Tehran.
“Iran-EU cooperation will be prosperous,” said Hogan in a joint press conference with Iranian Minister of Agriculture Mahmoud Hojjati on Saturday, adding that the EU is determined to continue its economic interactions with Iran within the JCPOA framework and the visiting mission is hoping to increase bilateral ties to the benefit of both sides, ILNA reported.
The official is accompanied by representatives of 40 European businesses who are willing to expand cooperation throughout the production chain in the fields of dairy, meat, vegetables, chocolate, oilseeds, livestock feed among others, in Hogan's words.
Earlier in the day, a memorandum of understanding on the joint production of corn and sorghum seeds was signed between the Iranian and French sides, in the presence of Hogan and Hojjati.
The two sides also surveyed the possibilities of exports of pistachio, saffron, ostriches, trout, and horses from Iran to the EU and imports of plant seeds, cow and sheep meat, dairy, powdered milk, olive oil and off-season fruit from the EU in return.
Hogan said problems in banking relations and credit lines are hindrances in the way of expansion of economic ties, which need to be eliminated. He announced EU’s readiness to assist Iran’s agriculture sector in research and employment of innovative methods.
Kaveh Zargaran, Secretary of Iran's Foodstuff Industries Association says talks with the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commission started around 8 months ago and preliminary agreements have been reached.
“Over the next two days, contracts are expected to be signed between Iranian and European sides,” he was quoted as saying at a joint business forum in Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture.
Zargaran noted that trade of foodstuff and beverages between Iran and the EU decreased by 18% during the seven months to October 22. The official believes that the lack of banking and financial interactions imposes heavy expenses on Iranian businesspeople when dealing with the Europeans.
According to Mohammad Ali Tahmasebi, horticultural deputy of the Agriculture Ministry, production of seeds and modified saplings, livestock and poultry, agro machinery and feeds, pressurized irrigation, expansion of greenhouses, cold storages and organic production are areas in which Iran is willing to attract investment from European companies.