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Iran is France's primary trade partner in Mideast, French minister

Paris, Oct 14, IRNA -- French Foreign Trade Minister Francois Loos said in Paris on Thursday that Iran ranks first among France Trade partners in the Middle East.

Speaking at a seminar on "Foreign Investment Prospect in Iran", he said that the reforms made on foreign investment policy in Iran and the country's suitable investment atmosphere have paved the ground for expansion of bilateral trade relations.

On Iran's peaceful nuclear program and nuclear case pending at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he added "France's policy has always been to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons expansion of industrial and scientific expansion with Tehran."

The initiative by the three European foreign minister of France, Germany and Britain in their visit to Tehran was a victory of sorts for the two sides and can be the best of guarantees for France.

He further thanked the Iranian economy minister in providing the grounds for participation of the French companies in Quake-devastated city of Bam. "We hope that the hospital gifted by France to the city will open by the end the 2004."

The first seminar of Foreign Investments prospect in Iran was inaugurated Wednesday with the participation of Iranian private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the French Employers Syndicates.

The seminar was attended by Loos, Iranian Minister of Economy and Finance Safdar Hosseini featuring more than 100 French industrial and financial cooperation.

The two countries experts have formed four committees to discuss joint programs and activities in industrial, telecommunication, finance and agriculture.

Meanwhile, Iran Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari, heading a trade delegation, met here last year with French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry Francis Mer.

Mer welcomed Iranian delegation saying that the developments in Iran bode well for expansion of ties between Tehran and Paris.

Paris sees no obstacle in strengthening bilateral trade ties he said adding "The visit to Paris by the Iranian commerce minister is the right step in bolstering relations."

Shairatmadari briefed the French economy minister on policies in lessening the role of government in the Iranian economy, ceding the state-owned enterprises to the private sector and other structural adjustments in the economy in the past several years.

Implementing investment and tax reforms, unification of foreign currency rates, modifying imported exports laws, amending tariff regime and provision for establishing private banking system are among other economic policies, he stated.

Currently there are suitable opportunities for Tehran-Paris cooperation in telecommunications, aeronautics, and oil and gas sectors, he said.

... Payvand News - 10/15/04 ... --

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