TEHRAN-Italy intends to elevate its rank among Iran's leading trading partners in the world from ninth to first, said Italian Deputy Economic Development Minister Carlo Calenda in Iran-Italy Business Forum, which was held in Tehran on Sunday.
The Italian official also said his country is the second leading trading partner of Iran in Europe, according to the IRNA news agency.
Calenda on the head of a trade delegation of 360 representatives of over 250 Italian companies from five sectors - medicine, green energy, automobile, construction and manufacturing equipment - arrived in Tehran on Saturday for a two-day visit to seek new opportunities in the post-sanctions Iran.
He stated that Italy wants to help Iran turn into the eight leading car manufacturer in the world by 2018.
The official put Iran-Italy worth of trade at $7 billion in 2011 (before the sanctions were imposed on Iran) and expressed hope that the two countries reach this figure again by the next two years.
He further stated that agricultural and mechanical equipment and machinery and also automation systems account for 60 percent of Italy's exports to Iran.
Rome will host the next meeting of Iran-Italy Joint Economic Commission, Calenda reminded.
Addressing the same forum, Iranian Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Mohammadreza Ne'matzadeh said Iran attaches priority to the long-term cooperation in its trade ties with Italy, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
While sanctions imposed on Iran's economy declined the value of its trade with Italy over the recent years, the two countries are determined to boost their bilateral trade now, the minister asserted.
"I as the Iranian chairman of Iran-Italy Joint Economic Commission expect that the two sides take the advantage of current condition to make joint venture and boost their bilateral cooperation", he noted.
Meanwhile, Iran and Italy signed four memorandums of understanding (MOU) on trade and tourism cooperation during the Sunday's forum.
One of the MOUs included transfer of technology and also cooperation on technical and scientific training in the industry sector.
The other one was on cooperation in the leather industry, including transfer of related technology and offering required training.
Two MOUs were also signed on the expansion of tourism ties between the two countries.
Iran-Italy annual trade which stood at $7 billion prior to the sanctions has dropped to around $1 billion now, according to Iran-Italy Joint Chamber of Commerce's Chairman Ahmad Pourfallah.
Already in August, Italian Economic Development Minister Federica Guidi, heading a delegation of 300 traders and businessmen, traveled to Iran to explore new investment opportunities in Iran after removal of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
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