Italy's fashion industry signs deal to build ties with Iran

Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:21pm EDT
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By Giulia Segreti and Astrid Wendlandt

MILAN/PARIS (Reuters) - Italy on Wednesday became the first European country to take steps to help its fashion industry build a stronger presence in Iran following the lifting of Western sanctions.

The two countries signed an agreement during a two-day visit by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi with a delegation of business leaders to increase trade between Italy and Iran and reinforce industrial cooperation.

The deal was signed by the National Textiles and Fashion Association Sistema Moda Italia (SMI), which represents a sector worth more than 52 billion euros ($59 billion) in revenues, and its Iranian counterpart the Tehran Garment Union (TGU).

It aims to cut red tape and make it easier for Italian companies to obtain the TGU licence required to operate in Iran.

Some analysts estimate the oil-rich Islamic Republic of nearly 80 million people has more than 3 million high net worth individuals who are major and regular buyers of luxury goods.

"Iran could be an interesting expansion market, probably worth about 2 per cent of the global luxury market, once developed," Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca said.

Renzi was accompanied by some 60 business leaders from sectors including energy, railways and defense. They pledged billions of euros in credit lines and guarantees, in a broader effort to establish a strong foothold in Iran.

"Iran represents a market with great opportunities and I am certain that Italian companies will be able to grasp them," SMI Chairman Claudio Marenzi said.   Continued...

Versace logo is seen in a shop in downtown Rome, Italy March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi