Having begun in Wuhan, China in December, the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes an acute respiratory disease known as COVID-19 in most of the infected, has expanded to touch nearly every corner of the globe, infecting over 16.22 million and killing more than 648,800.
In addition to its human casualties, the outbreak has led to a significant drop in international trade transactions mainly due to the closure of land and air borders and restrictions on holding face-to-face meetings in an effort to curb the spread of the virus and reduce the risks.
Coupled with the negative impacts of Washington’s sanctions on Tehran, reimposed following the May 2018 US withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1, the coronavirus outbreak has reduced Iran’s already strained economic relations with European states.
However, it appears as if the zeal shown by Iran and Italy for reviving their long-lasting trade ties outweighs the obstacles, as they have already launched efforts to re-establish connection between their trade sectors through cyberspace at a time when the world is yearning for direct face-to-face contacts.
According to the press and culture counselor at the Italian Embassy in Iran, on Wednesday the two countries held a virtual business forum titled, ‘Economic Relations between Italy and Iran in the Current Context: Non-oil sectors, SMEs’ role, EU support’. The forum was hosted by the think tank, The European House – Ambrosetti in partnership with the Italian Embassy in the Iranian capital and the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (TCCIMA).
Over 800 people, including the representatives of the Iranian and Italian private sectors, as well as business consultants and professionals form the two countries, attended the online event, which was aimed at discussing ways to expand economic cooperation, developing the longstanding and traditional friendly relations and strengthening economic bonds between the two countries.
The online event offered participants the opportunity to analyze the current economic context and lay the groundwork for increased cooperation.
In addition, a special virtual B2B session was held on the same day where participants established direct contact, with an eye to exploring options for further cooperation and exchange.
In opening remarks at the beginning of the forum, Italian Ambassador to Tehran Giuseppe Perrone highlighted Italy’s wish to put economic and trade relations with Iran back on a positive trajectory.
Appreciating the Iranian private sector’s commitment and professionalism, he noted that the ties between the two countries are deep and historical.
He added that a significant number of Italian companies that have, over the years, built strong relationships in Iran are now looking forward to the opportunity of further expanding cooperation with Iranian counterparts.
In an address to the same event, Masoud Khansari, the TCCIMA’s chairman, encouraged participants to count on and renew focus on Iran’s enormous economic potential and develop effective partnerships with the country’s companies by, among other things, seizing the opportunities available in the broader region.
Khansari also highlighted the special role Italy has always played as a key partner of the Iranian private sector in trade and investment activities, expressing hope that Italian companies would continue to be a reference point for their Iranian counterparts.
The event also included a presentation by experts from the European Union of new tools made available to facilitate trade between European companies and Iranian firms.
ITALIAN EMBASSY IN IRAN