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Italian bank agrees to extend billion dollar credit line to Iran

TEHRAN, June 29 (Wire Services) - An Italian commercial bank has agreed in principle to extend a billion dollar credit line to Iran, Italian sources said Tuesday.

The Mediocredito Centrale, which specialises in export credits, initialled the preliminary agreement here Tuesday. The final accord is to be signed shortly in Italy, the sources said.

Iran has been offered credit lines in the past from other Italian banks to finance the purchase of Italian exports and a number of joint industrial projects.

In September 1998 the Banca Commerciale Italiana announced that it was opening a medium- and long-term credit line to Iran of one billion dollars, plus 120 million dollars in the short term.

In July last year Mediobanca opened a credit line of 1.2 billion dollars with six state-owned Iranian commercial banks.

Italian businessmen are particularly interested in petrochemicals, telecommunications and metallurgy, as well as trade between small- and medium-sized enterprises in the two countries.

Italy is Iran's second biggest European trade partner after Germany. Trade between them amounted to 2.6 billion dollars in 1997, tilted in Iran's favour. Italian exports were worth 870 million dollars, while it imported 1.8 billion dollars' worth of Iranian goods, mainly oil products.


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