Czech Republic looking to boost trade ties with Iran

The Czech government is sending a business delegation to Iran, the first such visit ever to take place. The trip should pave the way for boosting trade and facilitate agreements on investment protection and the abolition of double taxation by both Prague and Tehran.

The representatives of some 20 Czech companies are set to leave for Iran on September 13th for a four day visit. The delegation, organized by the Czech Chamber of Commerce, will be headed by deputy foreign minister Martin Tlapa who told the news agency ČTK that mainly Czech transportation, machinery and textile firms were interested in establishing themselves on the Iranian market.

The head of Chamber of Commerce, Vladimír Dlouhý, said it was important to reach the markets in Iran early in case sanctions against Iran were eventually lifted. “We have a lot to follow up on. Iran and the Czech Republic have had historic trade ties which were established in the 1960s and 70s,” Mr Dlouhý said.

The trip was announced during an ongoing visit by Iran’s deputy foreign minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi in Prague. Mr Ravanchi met with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek who said however any closer economic cooperation with Iran would depend on progress reached in talks between Tehran and the West on the country’s controversial nuclear programme.

Mr Tlapa of the Czech Foreign Ministry and his Iranian counterpart also discussed preparations of agreements on investment protection and double taxation avoidance between the Czech Republic and Iran.

For his part, Iranian deputy foreign minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi informed Czech officials on developments in talks held in Geneva on his country’s nuclear programme. Mr Ravanchi said that a final deal between Tehran and six Western countries should be reached by the end of November.

Foreign Minister Zaorálek stressed a successful conclusion of the talks was a condition for Prague to boost cooperation with Iran. His deputy, Martin Tlapa, meanwhile said he was optimistic about the outcome of the negotiations.

In 2012, trade between the Czech Republic and Iran amounted to some 1.2 billion million crowns, down from 2.4 billion registered in 2003, before the country’s accession to the European Union. Czech firms mainly export machinery products, electrical goods, and other products to Iran while the bulk of imports from Iran consists of fruit and vegetables.