Iran Business Profile
Economy: Iran’s main sources of income are its
huge oil and gas deposits, which are among the world’s largest.
The agricultural sector is important for the numbers employed, although
output has been depressed by drought and migration of rural labour to
the cities. Both subsistence crops, mainly wheat, barley and sugar, and
cash crops are grown. The manufacturing sector, which accounts for about
one-sixth of total output, produces textiles, food-processing and transport
equipment. Apart from hydrocarbons, Iran also has viable deposits of coal,
magnesium ores and gypsum. Government policy has sought to promote the
agricultural and light industry in order to reduce the economy’s
dependence on oil and increase the influence of the private sector –
about 80 per cent of economic activity is state controlled. The economy
is performing fairly steadily at present: annual growth is about 5 per
cent and inflation is 12 to 15 per cent. As in other areas, economic policy
is dominated by fundamental difference of approach between the elected
government and the ruling clergy. On the trade front, Iran has developed
important new links with the newly independent states of central Asia
as well as Turkey and China but, more importantly, existing trade with
traditional partners in Europe, Japan and the Middle East have been restored.
Bilateral trade with the US remains, not surprisingly, at a low level.
Business: Most Iranian businesspeople speak English
and are polite and conservative in manner and expect an appropriate response
from visitors. Exchanging calling cards is normally restricted to senior
people. Appointments should be made and punctuality is expected for business
meetings. Business gifts are quite acceptable. Office hours: Sat to Wed
0800-1600, Thurs 0900-1200 (some offices may close all day).
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