Zagreb urges link between Croatian-Iranian SMEs to promote bilateral trade
12 May 2019 - The US unilateral sanctions on Iran have targeted vital state-owned oil and banking sectors, leaving much path for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to engage actively in economic activities.
Croatia says linking Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) between Iran and the European country is the best solution to skirt US sanctions and promote bilateral trade ties.
“We need to plan for the cooperation with Iran in the sanctions regime. There are ways to reach this goal,” said Croatian Ambassador to Iran Drago Štambuk on Tuesday, saying connecting Iranian and Croatian SMEs is the best solution.
He made the remark in a meeting with Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) President Gholam Hossein Shafei.
The Croatian envoy added that SMEs especialising in ship building and recycling the waste can cooperate with Iranian firms.
“Unfortunately, there are unjust sanctions against Iran, damaging cooperation paths with the country,” Štambuk added, stressing that Croatia is keen on cooperating with Iran.
The ICCIMA president called on Zagreb to announce members of a Iran-Croatia Joint Economic Committee that is aimed at boosting economic cooperation between the two countries.
“It’s true that we are suffering from sanctions but we have learnt our lessons and found paths,” Shafei added.
Iranian exports to the East European country rose more than 180% in value and 280% in weight during the last Persian year 1397 (April 2018-March 2019) in comparison to the same period a year before that. It ranked 85 among 100 destinations of Iranian exports, according to the latest figures published by Iranian Customs Administration (IRICA).
At the same time, imports from Croatia dropped nearly 13% in value and more than 60% in weight, IRICA report shows.
Shafei said chambers of commerce from both countries need to find out ways how to increase cooperation, noting that Alborz Chamber of Commerce will be focusing on developing ties with Croatia.
Tehran and Zagreb are eyeing closer bilateral economic activities, showing rising interest in Iran to expand trade ties with Eastern European states.
Early last month, Iranian Economy Minister Farhad Dejpasadn visited Croatia to sing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) about joint investment between private sectors of the two countries.
Also, ICCIMA Vice President Hossein Selah Varzi was in Bulgaria to explore paths to find an exitway from the US sanctions and expand bilateral economic relations with East Europe.