Iran-Japan Business Forum 2016 in presence of Iran's Foreign Minister

December 2016

Taking the opportunity of a visit to Japan by Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran, JETRO held the Iran-Japan Business Forum 2016 in Tokyo on December 7. In this forum, which was jointly hosted by the Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran in Japan and JETRO, speeches were delivered by four speakers including Foreign Minister Zarif and Iranian business people on such topics as Iran’s economic policies and the business environment to encourage Japanese companies to invest in Iran. The forum was joined by approximately 400 people including from both Iranian and Japanese companies and related organizations, and it was a huge success.

At the beginning of the forum, JETRO Chairman and CEO Hiroyuki Ishige stated in his opening remarks that with a large population of 80 million people, Iran has enormous potential as a consumer market, and various active fields including automobiles, heavy industry and medical and health care, in addition to an abundance of industrious young workers, are advantages for Iran. Furthermore he requested the Iranian side to improve its business environment to facilitate activities of Japanese companies, while also encouraging Japanese companies to invest in Iran riding on its wave of change.

Following that, Dr. Reza Nazarahari, the Iranian Ambassador to Japan, expressed his expectation in his remarks that a bilateral investment agreement concluded between Iran and Japan this February will give impetus for accelerating business exchange between companies in both countries. In addition, he proudly pointed out that the 100-person delegation led by Foreign Minister Zarif included representatives from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, the Central Bank and the Chamber of Commerce in Iran.

Opening remarks by Chairman Ishige

In his address, the Director-General for Trade Policy of the Minister Economy, Trade and Industry, Koichi Akashi, emphasized that Iran offers numerous business opportunities in a wide range of fields with its solid industrial base as well as natural resources, and that Japanese companies can take full advantage of them. Touching on an investment agreement between Iran and Japan, he also expressed his hope that such activities between both governments will further enhance business in both countries.

Foreign Minister Zarif praised Japan as a venerable partner for Iran and declared that Japanese brands are praised within Iran. He made a passionate call to Japanese companies to come back to the Iranian market where economic sanctions were removed. He also explained that Iran has abundant excellent human resources centering on the field of science and technology and that business opportunities have expanded in line with stable public security and infrastructure development. Given these facts, he stressed that Iran would be able to play the role of a business hub in the Middle East.

Six representatives from Iranian business circles; including President Gholam Hossein Shaafei of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, and President Masoud Khansari of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture; gave speeches on the topics of promising industries in Iran and the possibilities of collaboration with Japanese companies. The final speaker, Principal Representative Shinobu Nakamura of JETRO Tehran, updated the people in attendance on the economic and political situation of Iran.

Keynote speech by Foreign Minister Zarif

A network and business matching event in the second session saw lively talks between companies of both countries which continued beyond the scheduled time, ending the forum on a high note.

Outline of the forum

Date December 7, 2016,
Venue Ascot Hall, on the 2nd floor of Hotel Okura Tokyo
Organizers Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Japan
Supporters Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Session 1
Opening remarks 1: Mr. Hiroyuki Ishige, JETRO Chairman and CEO
Opening remarks 2: HE Dr. Reza Nazarahari, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Islamic Republic of Iran in Japan
Guest speech: Mr. Koichi Akashi, Director-General for Trade Policy of Minister Economy, Trade and Industry
Keynote speech 1: Mr. Gholam Hossein Shaafei, President of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture
Keynote speech 2: Mr. Masoud Khansari, President of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture
Keynote speech 3: HE Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran

Presentations by the Iran private sector
  1. Dr. Mohammadreza Karbasi, Deputy President for International Affairs
  2. Mr. Saeed Sarkar, Professor of the Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council (INIC)
  3. Dr. Arash Anissian, Managing Director of Ebn Sina Medical Group
  4. Dr. Abbas Aliabadi, President of Mapna Group

Presentation by organizer
Mr. Shinobu Nakamura, Principal Representative of JETRO Teheran

Session 2
Network meeting and business matching talks