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INSTEX SAS (société par actions simplifiée) was founded in 2019 as a Paris-based company governed by French law. As of September 2020, it has nine sovereign owners: the Republic of France; Federal Republic of Germany; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Kingdom of Belgium; Kingdom of Denmark; Kingdom of the Netherlands; Kingdom of Norway; Republic of Finland; Kingdom of Sweden.

The goal of INSTEX is to facilitate legitimate trade with Iran in light of challenges faced by European market participants who wish to continue trading in and with Iran in an unobstructed manner. At present, INSTEX focuses on humanitarian trade between Europe and Iran, broadly encompassing food, agricultural equipment, medicine, and medical supplies as well as items required to produce, create, package, transport, preserve, and ensure humanitarian goods arrive with their end-users in a satisfactory manner.

INSTEX functions as a clearing house that facilitates the exchange of payment transactions between Europe and Iran. In coordination with our Iranian counterpart, the Special Trade and Finance Instrument (STFI), INSTEX settles mutual claims and liabilities by means of clearing debts (forfaiting) within a ‘closed loop’ financial system that minimises cross-border payments between Europe and Iran. Direct payments between Iran and Europe occur to the extent that periodic imbalances arise during our imports-exports. INSTEX and STFI are exploring solutions to allow for the further expansion of trade activity.

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