Berlin, Sept 2, IRNA-Germany may have to relinquish Iran's lucrative market for good, should sanctions be leveled against Tehran, news reports quoted two leading German trade officials as saying on Saturday.
The head of the foreign trade department of the German Wholesale and Foreign Trade Association (BGA), Jens Nagel told the online site of the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that sanctions against Tehran may force Iran to look for alternative trading partners in the Far East, notably the People's Republic of China.
"There is a big danger that Tehran will in the long run seek its suppliers in East Asia," Nagel warned.
He added, "Before sanctions are leveled, politicians have to pose the question on the degree of the sanctions' impact. To impose sanctions against Iran is fanciless."
Meanwhile the chairman of the Near and Middle East Association (NUMOV), Martin Bay agreed with Nagel's assessment about the potential harming effect of sanctions on German-Iranian business ties.
"If we were only traders, we could temporarily pull out of the Iranian market. But if we do this in the sectors of technology and the creation of infrastructure, we will hardly get a foot back into the door," Bay added.
Last year German companies exported 4.4 billion euros worth of goods to Iran, among them industrial machinery, automobiles, steel and chemical products.
President of the Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Trade (BGA) Anton F. Boerner warned that Germany could be among the losers of a likely economic embargo against Iran.
He stressed that sanctions could especially hurt medium-sized German companies, which depend heavily on the trade with Iran.
Boerner made clear that the ongoing dispute over Tehran's nuclear program should be resolved through "political and not ecnomic means." "We should avoid everything which might aggravate the crisis," he added.
Meanwhile, the German DIHK Chamber of Industry and Commerce warned on Friday that economic sanctions on Iran may cost more than 10,000 German jobs and have a negative impact on the economic growth of the country.
German exports to Iran were already down almost 10 percent over the first half of 2006 compared to the corresponding time period last year," the DIHK said.
Iran was the largest market for German exports in the Middle East last year -- ahead of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
German companies exported 4.4 billion euros worth of goods among these industrial machinery, automobiles, steel and chemical goods.
Some 50 German firms have their own branch offices in Iran and more than 12,000 firms have their own trade representives in the country.
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