Italy’s Sace and the Export Guarantee Fund of Iran (EGFI) have announced the signing of a technical co-operation agreement. Sace’s assistance programs will support Iran’s ECA in the development and increased competitiveness of the country’s exporting companies.

Under the agreement, EGFI will receive advisory and training services on products, processes, and risk assessment and management. The goal is to transfer the instruments and know-how necessary to sustain Iranian companies in developing and implementing growth plans based on exports: “The Iranian ECA – an active member of the Prague Club – is investing in strengthening its skills in supporting the development and competitiveness of the country exporting companies,” Michal Ron, Sace’s managing director, head of international business tells GTR.

The possible progressive lifting of the sanction system would open significant opportunities. Michal Ron, Sace.

Amidst talks of sanction relief as part of the nuclear agreement negotiations, the co-operation could not have been timed better. “Naturally there are growing expectations for the evolution of the situation in Iran. The possible progressive lifting of the sanction system would open significant opportunities for development both for the country and for its potential trade partners, albeit with high political and credit risk,” says Ron.

According to her, the sanctions have had quite an impact on the Italian economy, costing the country an estimated €17bn: “Mechanical equipment, which makes up over half of our exports to Iran, is currently the hardest hit sector, having lost over €12.5bn since the beginning of the sanctions. The remaining 30% of export is represented by metals, electronics, and chemical products, that have registered total losses of over €2bn euro since 2006,” she explains.

Sace has provided assistance for the creation and development of ECAs and other financial institutions in several emerging markets in the past decade. “Last year we have offered our advisory services to the Aman Union, the forum gathering credit insurance professionals from Islamic countries like, indeed, Iran, who hosted in Tehran our training meetings (other member countries are Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, Senegal, and Sudan). With this latest agreement with EGFI we will strengthen our advisory activity in this field,” explains Ron. Sace is currently acting as advisor for the creation of a new export credit agency in Georgia and is studying various initiatives in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa.