Sanctions or not, Assocham sends trade delegation to Iran

The United States may be trying to isolate Iran commercially, but Assocham, one of India’s biggest trade bodies, is pushing for improvement in India’s trade with the country.

The trade body has sent a 50 member delegation to the middle eastern country with the agenda of increasing Indo-Iranian trade. The delegation comprises industry heads from segments like wheat, rice, tea, coffee, agriculture food for animals, auto components, automobiles, minerals & mining, pharmaceuticals etc.

“Our major concern is to curb the huge trade imbalance between India and Iran which should import more from India especially agricultural commodities like wheat, rice and sugar,” said Anil K. Agarwal, chairman of International Affairs Council of the body, who is leading the delegation.

“We would urge our counterparts in Iran to invest in India’s burgeoning real estate sector, besides, we would also pitch for a liberal multi-entry business visa regime, more direct flights, organising trade fairs and exhibitions at regular intervals as it could spur the bilateral trade by at least $10 billion in near future.”

The annual bilateral trade between India and Iran is currently estimated at about $15 billion and is heavily imbalanced and biased towards Iran which exports goods, mainly oil, worth over $12 billion and imports goods worth a meagre $2.5 billion.

Iranian oil powers 12 percent of India’s energy need. According to Assocham, Indian companies can be successful in road construction, railway networks, port infrastructure, information technology, readymade garments, medical equipment etc. in the middle eastern country.

The delegation would discuss lowering tariffs as per a preferential trading agreement and figuring out a new, secure payment mechanism between the two countries. The United States has blocked dollar-denominated trade between India and Iran.