Iranians Support Greater Economic Engagement with Other Countries

Large majorities of Iranians say growing trade and business tides between Iran and other countries is mostly beneficial for Iran and believe that Iran would mostly benefit from allowing multinational companies to freely compete with Iranian companies. Large majorities also think that Iran should make it easier for multinational companies to operate inside Iran.

Multinational companies, however, face many challenges in Iran. A majority of Iranians think that the government should maintain tariffs that protect Iranian industries. As long as such tariffs are maintained, it is going to be unlikely for the multinational companies to be able to compete with Iranian companies on price. 

Also, most Iranian households use consumer products that are produced in Iran and multinational companies will have to work extra hard to convince Iranians to switch. This is going to be particularly challenging considering the fact that Iranians consider most products that are sold in Iran as European-made to be counterfeits.

Another important challenge multinational companies face is a perception among Iranians that multinational companies do not take the interests of the Iranian people into account and are no well acquainted with the needs and tastes of the Iranian people. To overcome this challenge, multinational companies need to consider and study the needs and tastes of their Iranian consumers.

Finally, while Iranians continue to support the JCPOA and have confidence that Europeans will live up to their obligations under the agreement, an increasing majority indicate that they are not confident that the United States will live up to its end of the bargain. Iranians also say that multinational companies have moved slower than they could to invest in Iran primarily out of their fear of the United States.

The survey was conducted in partnership with Bourse&Bazaar among a representative urban sample of 700 Iranians. The margin of error for this study was +/-3.7. The fieldwork for this conducted in August 2017.

Main Findings:

The results of this survey were presented at the 4th annual Europe – Iran Forum. The forum agenda is available here.

The detailed full results of the survey are available here. The PowerPoint slides presented in the forum are available here.

Media Coverage:

Below are links to the articles covering this poll: