Neda Raefipour: A greater mobility of the private sector in Romania and Iran will develop the bilateral relations

Neda Raefipour: A greater mobility of the private sector in Romania and Iran will develop the bilateral relations

Highway in Qom (photo: Pixabay, CC0)

The volume of bilateral trade between Iran and Romania amounts to only 40 million euro in the first half of 2020, says Neda Raefipour, economic adviser at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Bucharest

Adelina Toader

Economic relations between Iran and Romania have always been stable and positive. But in the first six months of 2020 the volume of bilateral trade has reached only 40 million euro. However Neda Raefipour – economic adviser at the Iranian embassy in Bucharest, believes that there are many opportunities for cooperation between Romania and Iran and their private sectors. She gave an interview to the Bourse newspaper about the main areas of cooperation between Romania and Iran, but also about the existing opportunities in the bilateral relations.

This text was published on 23 October 2020 at the site of the Bourse newspaper and is republished with the permission of the newspaper. The title of the interview is slightly modified.

How do you evaluate the level of the economic relations between Iran and Romania at this present moment?

There has been a constant friendly relationship between the two countries, there are common points in the cultural sphere and the bilateral economic relations have always been placed in a frame of calmness and mutual trust. The image of the Romanian tractors is still alive in the memory of the Iranian people, especially among the people of the region of Tabriz.

During the implementation of the nuclear agreement (JCPOA), the volume of bilateral trade reached the level of 426 million euro. But after the USA’s withdrawal from JCPOA the trade volume fell to 297 million euro. In 2019 it reached 200 million euro. The volume of bilateral trade in the first half of 2020l amounted to only 40 million euro. We hope that a greater mobility of the private sector in the two countries will help to improve the level of bilateral trade relations. The 16th Romanian-Iranian Joint Intergovernmental Economic Cooperation Commission can play an important role in the development of these relations.

At this moment, in what areas do you have the potential to cooperate around the world?

The Romanian market’s openness for Iranian petrochemical products creates very important potential for cooperation. At the moment, Iran produces at least 150 petrochemical products, and the production capacity of the petrochemical industry is 66 million tons per ton.

Happily, Iran managed to have a big export capacity of non-oil products. One of the most important capabilities is in the field of biotechnology. In the last six months the knowledge-based companies CinnaGen and Pishtaz Teb Zaman, with the help of biotechnology producers, initiated negotiations with Romanian partners in order to study possibilities for medical exports and export of coronavirus diagnostic products. Given my experience of the last three years as Economic Adviser to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Bucharest, I strongly believe that Iran can have a successful collaboration with Romania in the field of exporting knowledge-based products.

I would like to introduce to your readers a few knowledge-based companies, which are famous in Iran and internationally. The first and the most important knowledge-based institute in the field of biotechnology in Iran is the company “CinnaGen”, with 24 years of experience in international market. It has 5 production locations under the name “CinnaGen Certification and Production Company” and has a GMP certificate issued by the European Union. This company has prevented Iran from paying abroad one and a half billion dollars in 2019 for the acquisition of samples. Instead, they were produced inside Iran.

The Iranian company “ASR Gooyesh Pardaz” has been active in the field of artificial intelligence, in the process of detecting signals, and has major success. The company “ARA Research” is a manufacturer of atomic force microscopes (AFM). It provides them to research laboratories and university laboratories so that developers could use Iran-produced products and means in their activity.

“VistaGen” uses ecofriendly composites. It managed to resolve a lot of the problems in the field of biotechnology.

The company “Rahrovan-e Sepehr-e Andisheh” has successfully operated in the field of production and sales of smart electricity and water measurements means.

“Parsa Polymer Sharif” is active in two areas: manufacturing and development of polymer composites and accessories for engineering and laboratory goals. Its products are used in the automotive industry for all the types of alloys and polymeric composites.

The medical engineering company “Saba” has a line of design and construction of olfactory and taste sensory assessment systems.

The “Kitotek” company, which operates in the nano field, is internationally known. Currently, there are over 5,000 knowledge-based companies in Iran operating in various fields, and many of them have become known internationally through exported products.

Another area of ​​cooperation with very high potential in bilateral relations is cross-border crops cultivation. Currently, the Iranian and Romanian parties are discussing the implementation of the cross-border cultivation project in Romania, a dialogue that has entered the final stage.

Other Iranian export products include foods such as fruits, greens, raisins, saffron, dates and aquatic products, as well as medical, electrical and mechanical equipment and consumables, tires and rubber tubes for all types of transport vehicles, textiles and clothing, carpets and leather goods. Currently, the most important items exported from Iran to Romania are plastic products, mineral products, fruits, textiles, stone and cement products, glass and crystal products, metals, furniture and chemicals; the most important Romanian products exported to Iran are corn, mechanical equipment, meat, vehicles, tractors and parts, chemicals, optical instruments, wood, electrical equipment and plastic.

Are there currently ongoing economic projects between the private sectors of the two countries?

For example, the most important projects that can be invested in now are: the Iranian private investment project for the establishment of a petrochemical hub in the Constanta area; construction of a cold asphalt factory, in Romania, with mixed capital; cross-border cultivation in Romania; the establishment of an IT and communications hub in Bucharest, and last but not least the registration in Romania of a joint company for the distribution of medical products, articles and consumables such as medical equipment manufactured in Iran with EU license, and according to Western European country standards. We hope that, once the appropriate bilateral trade opportunities are identified, we will establish a win-win trade relationship between the private sectors of the two countries.

Photo: Tabriz (source: Pixabay, CC0)

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