German healthcare industry trade delegation in Iran

A German healthcare industry trade delegation traveled to Iran during the third week of January. Led by the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) Brigitte Zypries, the group visited the country and held talks with Iranian policymakers and economic representatives. Just before the trade mission, the EU and the US on January 16, 2016 ("Implementation Day") lifted economic sanctions against Iran. This follows the scaling down of Iran's nuclear program under the terms of an earlier agreement.

Flag Iran; fotolia/niyazz
© fotolia/niyazz

A total of 40 companies – about half of them medical technology firms – participated in the two-day mission. The other half of the delegation was made up of representatives of the pharmaceuticals industry, diagnostics' companies and consulting firms. Among the Iranian officials with whom State Secretary Zyrpires held talks was the Iranian Health Minister, Dr. Hassan Hashemi. During their meeting, they discussed opportunities for cooperation between Germany and Iran in developing the Iranian healthcare system. Additional talks were held with the Head of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines & Agriculture (ICCIMA), Mohsen Jalalpour, Iranian investment authorities, and representatives of Iranian industry and business.

State Secretary Zypries said, "German healthcare industry firms' interest in Iran is large. I am pleased that around 40 German companies are taking part in this market exploration mission. They will be able to give our negotiating partners a good impression of our globally recognized products and services. Following the lifting of sanctions, in the coming months we would like to continue to accompany the intensification of business ties between Germany and Iran in the area of healthcare."

A further agenda item for the trade delegation was a half-day networking forum held at the ICCIAM in cooperation with the German Chamber of Commerce - Tehran (AHK). German economic representatives also took part in a national healthcare sector investment conference that was scheduled exclusively for the German guests and a French trade delegation. In the evening, business representatives were able to make further contacts at a spontaneous networking session with the Iranian pharmaceuticals association.

Good connections were made and key talks held at all the events. The trade mission was in the right place at the right time, just after "Implementation Day." Members of the delegation noted a positive atmosphere everywhere they went. The fifth meeting of the Joint German-Iranian Economics Commission will be held in Tehran in May. This commission is a further, important step in building business ties with Iran for Germany's healthcare industry. A joint stand representing the Federal Republic is also planned for the Iran Health trade fair from May 15 to May 18.

Iran presents good opportunities for the export-oriented German healthcare industry. Iran's import demands remain high for medical technology in particular and are expected to rise even more in the coming years. Although medical technology was exempt from the sanctions, many foreign suppliers nevertheless withdrew from Iran. Hospital construction in recent years has kept pace with population growth, but the per capita number of hospital beds remains low, at 17 beds per 100,000 people. Germany has traditionally been Iran's most important supplier of medical technology. German exports to Iran reached a high point in 2010 at EUR 103 million, while in 2014 they were at EUR 86 million. The latest figures, however, indicate growth. In the first three quarters of 2015, German exports to Iran, at EUR 88 million, had already exceeded the amount for the entire previous year.

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