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Iran in debt deal

October 3, 2000. (Financial Times) -- The Export Credit Guarantee Department is to provide cover to help exporters compete for contracts in Iran following an agreement to write off about £20m of Iranian debt.

Richard Caborn, the first trade minister to visit Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, said in Tehran on Monday: "The agreement says effectively that Iran is open for business."

He said the Iranian government had agreed to repay a small amount of pre-revolutionary debt owed to the ECGD. The original sum had been about £100m but this was reduced to £24m during years of negotiations that stalled three years ago.

ECGD cover brings Britain into line with its European competitors. The absence of credit guarantees had been a serious deterrent to British companies.

Mr Caborn said exports to Iran amounted to £154m in the first seven months of this year, putting Britain well down the European league table.

Foreign investors were looking for political stability, transparency and the means to repatriate capital and profits, he added.


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