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Huge power plant projects for German firms in Iran

October 2, 2000, Teheran (dpa) - Huge power plant projects are on the verge of finalisation between Iran and German firms, visiting German Economics Minister Werner Mueller said in Teheran on Monday.

``Nothing is settled yet, but I have the feeling that especially regarding huge power plant projects we are on the verge of finalising some accords,'' Mueller said after a meeting with Energy Minister Bitaraf.

``If German firms, as expected by us, are involved in power plant projects amouting to billions of marks, then we can also start talking about Hermes insurance coverage beyond the approved one million mark ceiling,'' Mueller noted, referring to the German state-backed export insurance company.

Iran plans to make joint ventures for the construction of 12 power plants and German firms could have a 50 per cent share within the consortiums enganged in the joint ventures.

In his meeting Monday with Central Bank governor Mohsen Nurbakhsh, the German minister called once again for a stablised oil price at 25 dollars per barrel.

Nurbakhsh termed oil prices ranging between 22 and 28 dollar per barrel as suitable for both producers and consumers but wondered whether such a scheme would be feasible on the long term.

Mueller added that the Iran -Germany joint economic commission could resume after finalising what he termed a ``bilateral investment protection scheme''. The joint commission was frozen in the last nine years and expected to be resumed at the beginning of 2001.

Mueller, accompanied by more than 80 business leaders, arrived in Teheran on Sunday as the first visit to Iran by a German economics minister since 1991. The visit is aimed to improve economic relations shattered in recent years due to political differences.

Besides talks with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Namazi, he will also meet Oil Minister Bijan Namdar-Zangeneh and planned is also a meeting with President Mohammad Khatami.

Germany is Iran 's leading supplier of goods but other countries like Italy and France have been catching up.

In 1999 bilateral trade came to 3.1 billion marks (1.4 billion dollars), only about one-third the nine billion marks level in 1992. Last year's figure included 2.2 billion marks in German exports to Iran and 900 million marks in Iranian deliveries to Germany. But trade picked up by 24.7 per cent in the first half of this year.


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