The Slovenia Times

Business Happy about Iran Nuclear Deal


Samo Hribar Milič, general manager of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), was critical of what he sees as neglect of Iran, as he commented on Wednesday on the agreement reached the day before in Vienna.

"I believe it was a huge mistake to close down the embassy in Iran two and a half years ago," he said, calling for the reopening of a Slovenian embassy in Tehran as soon as possible.

Iran is a huge market in which Slovenia is still well known for its products, mainly industrial ones, Hribar Milič said, pointing to emerging opportunities in logistics, tourism and energy as well.

"Slovenian companies are capable of tapping the potential of the Iranian market, but a diplomatic thawing of relations is also needed," he said.

The volume of bilateral goods trade has never topped EUR 100m after 2002, falling to EUR 22m last year from EUR 96.6m in 2011. But business with Iran has never been interrupted.

"Companies have been doing business with Iran through Turkey, Armenia and India, for example, which made business harder. A thaw in relations would mean the deals could be done directly, which also means faster and more competitively," the GZS boss said.

Civil engineering firm Riko is preparing to open an office in Tehran with some other Slovenian companies shortly, CEO Janez Škrabec announced. Riko's opportunities lie in energy and green technology.

"I believe that Slovenia has good references in the market going back from the time of the former Yugoslavia. I don't expect it to be an easy job, but it's definitely an interesting challenge."

Glass maker Steklarna Hrastnik has been exporting to Iran in good times and bad, considering the popularity of glass in the country, the company's CEO Andrej Božič told the STA. "It's or traditional and good market."

The sanctions, a drop in the purchasing power and the economic crisis depressed sales in Iran, with Božič expecting a surge in sales in the wake of the agreement.

The deal was also hailed by Dušan Bušen, the head of the Slovenian Automotive Cluster. "We don't expect short-term, but mid- and long-term effects on companies interested in the market."

He believes Iran is an interesting market, especially in the event of closure of some other markets. "Considering the extended Russo-Ukrainian crisis, the Iranian market could be an interesting alternative."


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