Friday, December 8, 2023

Thanks to trade diplomacy, Iran’s exports rise across board

Official figures show Iran’s exports to neighbors and beyond grew last year despite harsh US sanctions on the country.

According to the Ministry of Industry, Mining and Trade (IMT), the country exported $8.2 billion worth of goods to Iraq in the 11 months to February, up 19% year on year.

Zohreh Khajavi, Director of International Affairs Department of Iranian Ministry of Industry, Mine & Trade told IFP, the period marked Iran reviewing its export potentials in the Arab country, establishing trade centers in the Iraqi Kurdistan and removing obstacles on the way of food and agricultural products to Iraq.

Iran’s exports to Afghanistan grew 18.9% to more than $1.6 billion in the period, the ministry said.

The ministry set up a data bank for priority goods in order to encourage and boost exports to Iran’s eastern neighbor.

It also cooperated with Iran’s metals conglomerate IMIDRO on investing in Afghanistan’s mining sector, including in its iron ore and bauxite extraction projects, and bartering goods between the two countries.

Last year, Iran and Pakistan signed their first barter trade agreement to exchange Pakistani rice with Iranian LPG. According to the IMT ministry, Iran exported more than $1.1 billion worth of goods to Pakistan in the 11 months to February, up 2.6% from the same period a year ago.

During the period, Iran exported more than $1.6 billion of goods to India, up 3.8%. Their joint chambers of commerce agreed to set up a trade center in Mumbai.
The two countries also decided to increase shipping links.

Iran’s exports to China, a major trade partner and ally, grew 29% to more than $12.6 billion. A data bank was set up for Iranian companies to provide feedback on China’s market. Iran also named a business councilor to Beijing, with plans to send another councilor to China’s financial and commercial hub, Shanghai.

The surge in exports took place in trade with Russia, Oman and Syria.

According to deputy industry, mining and trade minister Alireza Peyman-Pak, trade with Russia rose 80% to $4 billion, including $1 billion in Iranian exports. The two countries worked out a mechanism for banking transactions. Russia also opened its first port to Iran’s refrigerated containers, eliminating delays in their trip through Azerbaijan Republic.

Also, Oman took in $638 million of Iranian goods, up 65% from a year before. The sultanate hosted an exclusive Iranian trade show.

The biggest surge, however, came in trade with Syria which received $205 million of Iranian exports, up 97% from the same period a year ago. Last year, 120 Iranian companies took part in an exclusive trade fair in Damascus, which was attended by Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade Reza Fatemi-Amin.

The surge in foreign trade comes against the backdrop of the President Raisi administration’s agenda to expand economic ties with countries in the region and those across the globe.

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