Rennes – thousands of cows were to fly to Tehran, but are likely to remain nailed to the ground: in Normandy, the recovery of the u.s. sanctions against Iran is already impacting the meat sector, compromising its chances to make lucrative trading links.
“This project aims to feed one of the largest slaughterhouses of Iran with French cows”, and represents “ten or fifteen million euros”, but could be “abandoned,” sighed Nathalie Goulet, senator IDU of the Orne river.
Driven in particular by the elected normandy, u00n contract had been signed in 2016. After the agreement on the iranian nuclear issue, a powerful chain of slaughterhouses, Seamorgh, wished to acquire normandy cows, to “raise a beef sector of quality” in the Middle East, ” she explains.
Objective: to send forward, each year, 10,000 to 20,000 young cattle from Normandy, mainly from species of the charolais breed, in the direction of a slaughterhouse near Tehran, representing the first importation of live meat foreign since the islamic revolution.
A first sending “test” was successfully completed in October 2017: 310 “broutards” of a few months, intended to be fattened on the spot, had joined the country of the mullahs in the plane, “in very good conditions”, said Ms. Goulet.
Initially reluctant, for fear of an impact on prices in the French market, the farmers were finally, for many, welcomed the operation. “The cattle were purchased at the same price as in France. The agreement represented an interesting opportunity for producers,” says Anne-Marie Denis, president of the Federation of farmers ‘ unions (FDSEA) of the Orne river.
“But we had hoped to propose later other products: food for cattle,” and especially “of the processed meat, height, value-added,” says the farmer.
The Normandy region, such as the Chamber of regional agriculture, were involved in the project.
– Billions of dollars of penalties –
But their hopes have been showered by the withdrawal of the United States of the agreement on the nuclear, and the severe economic sanctions the u.s. restored on Tuesday.
These include blocks on financial transactions and imports of raw materials, to the businesses continuing to trade with Iran.
“Anyone who does business with Iran cannot do business with the Usa”, had warned on Tuesday, Donald Trump on Twitter.
Caught in a vice, the French banks involved in the project norman “refuse the money now in iran”, presented in the form of letters of credit. Agrial, agricultural cooperative norman is in charge of collecting the cattle in different farms, has withdrawn from the project. The Coface (French Company of insurance for foreign trade), which is intended to cover exports, “can’t do”, said Nathalie Goulet.
“We are left without a bank, and virtually without technical partner”, she summarizes.
Blow to the breeding norman, this situation is only a reflection of a larger problem: Daimler, PSA, British Airways, Lufthansa, Air Liquide has decided to throw in the towel in Iran. We all remember the heavy fine, close to nine billion dollars, imposed in 2014 to BNP Paribas for having circumvented the arms embargoes.
“We are not immune to a stroke of the madness of Donald Trump, who could decide overnight to boycott another country, such as Japan”, warns the senator, calling for “more Europe” and means to “fight against the extraterritoriality of u.s. law”.
The european Union has just activated on Tuesday, a law, the so-called “blocking”, in particular aimed at cancelling the effects, in the EU, any decision of a justice-based foreign sanctions. The regulation prohibits eu companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of the sanctions, penalties, and opens up the right to compensation, but its effectiveness has never been proven.
If the project norman is “pending”, it is “not abandoned”, ensures the president of the Normandy region Hervé Morin.
“We are waiting for the details of the embargo and the european response”, but “if the French banks refuse to participate”, of the financial circuits alternative, as “foreign banks” might be envisaged, ” he says.
The Iranians would “hold in this market”, concludes Nathalie Goulet, seeking as an “other payment” that the banking system Swift to work around the sanctions… And “why not bitcoin”.