Tehran signaled its interest in purchasing an estimated Rs.25,000-30,000-crore worth of Indian goods every year by having a former Cabinet Minister to head the delegation.
Speaking at a reception, organized for the 50-plus Iranian team, former Iranian Commerce Minister Yahya Ale Eshagh said Indo-Iranian trade was poised to grow. He also dismissed the US pressure on other countries to reduce their trade ties with Iran.
"Our trade problems will be resolved in spite of efforts of those who oppose us. Economics does its own work, trade does its own work and politicians do their own work,'' he said.
The Iran-India business meetings on Monday, sources in the delegation said, focused on agro and allied products, pharmaceuticals, engineering, shipping, banking, petroleum products, polymer, textile as well as e-commerce.
The United States is pushing India to cut back its imports of crude oil from Iran, and has warned that Indian banks could be cut off from its financial system in June unless significant progress is made. An industry official, who was part of the meetings, told The Hindu that the "business community does not want to let go of the opportunities in Iran. But, at the same time they are being cautious."
Indian industrialists said "if we don't utilize this opportunity, others will, because the second round of talks on the nuclear issue takes place later this month and if they are successful, others will come in."
The Iranian delegation is paying a reciprocal visit after an Indian team of businessmen visited Tehran in March to showcase their products. But in the subsequent follow-on meetings, both sides realized that it was not sustainable to depend on Indian exports alone which would be basically payment for Iranian oil that could not be sent through international financial channels. It was also necessary for Iranian businessmen to meet a wider cross section of Indian industry.
The business-to-business meeting during the day was facilitated by the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) while Friends of Iran held a reception for the visitors later in the day. Iranian businessmen will hold more meetings in the coming days, facilitated by industry chambers FICCI and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.