New Members Join INSTEX to Support Europe’s Trade Channel with Iran

New Members Join INSTEX to Support Europe’s Trade Channel with Iran

Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden joined the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) on 30 November as shareholders.

Launched on 28 June, the INSTEX is meant to be a barter trade mechanism used to avoid direct financial transfers by offsetting balances between importers and exporters on the European side.

The mechanism makes it possible for companies in the European Union and Iran to trade with each other despite the stiff sanctions imposed by the U.S. since Washington quit a 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers last year.

As reported by Reuters, Iranian officials have repeatedly said that INSTEX must include oil sales or provide substantial credit facilities for it to be beneficial. Nevertheless, the European side uses the channel only to sell food, medicine and medical devices in Iran, which are not subject to U.S. sanctions.

INSTEX is available to all EU Member States. As founding shareholders of INSTEX, France, Germany and the United Kingdom warmly welcome the decision taken by the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, to join INSTEX as shareholders on 30 November.

This step further strengthens INSTEX and demonstrates European efforts to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran and is a clear expression of Member States’ continuing commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

The trade mechanism will soon be open to economic operators from third countries. Ongoing complementary cooperation with the Iranian corresponding entity (STFI), which has already been established, will speed up.

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Oliver Weiss is a German journalist based in Brussels, Belgium. He writes about EU and UK legislation.