Domestic Economy

Trade Surplus Rises to $2.2b

Trade Surplus Rises to $2.2bTrade Surplus Rises to $2.2b

Iran's trade surplus has grown since the beginning of the current Persian calendar year (March 20), with the country recording $7.7 billion in exports and $5.5 billion in imports in the two-month period, head of Iran' Customs Administration (ICA), Masoud Karbasian announced on Tuesday.

While both exports and imports during the period dropped in terms of value compared with the similar period last year by 7% and 25% respectively, Karbasian noted that the decline in export value was mainly due to the global decline in oil prices over the past year which has in turn affected the prices of gas condensates, IRNA reported.

The ICA had earlier announced a trade surplus of $760 million for the first month of the Iranian calendar year (March 21-April 20), with monthly export and import of non-oil goods (including gas condensates) recorded at $2.731 billion and $1.971 billion respectively.

"This year's budget anticipates non-oil import and export value to amount to at least $50 billion each. The past two months' statistics show that achieving this target is not hard to imagine," said Karbasian.

Major exports during the two-month period included gas condensates, petrochemical products, industrial goods and traditional goods such as carpet, while imports consisted mainly of basic goods and vehicles, he added.

The official also referred to transit statistics, noting that 2.67 million metric tons of foreign goods crossed the borders during the period.

Referring to the recently passed legislation on 'removing barriers to competitive production and improving the country's financial system', Karbasian expressed hope that implementing this law can help the ICA to effectively combat smuggling.

> Plan to Curb Smuggling

Habibollah Haghighi, chief of staff at the Central Taskforce to Combat the Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Currency, has announced a comprehensive plan to curb smuggling, particularly in the border regions.

Visiting the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan on Tuesday, the official noted that addressing people's economic problems and utilizing the capacities in the province is among the taskforce's priorities to combat smuggling.

Fuel is a major commodity smuggled from Sistan and Baluchestan mainly to neighboring countries.

> Reviewing Export Policies

Meanwhile, head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), Gholam-Hossein Shafei, in an interview with ISNA on Tuesday emphasized the need to review export policies in a bid to ensure sustained production and export.

He suggested a shift towards export of industrial products and expanding to bigger markets than that of the neighboring countries, noting that the majority of Iran's exports are currently bound to regional countries.

"We need to draft long-term, comprehensive export strategies to survive in the global market. The neighboring countries will eventually begin manufacturing the products they now import, leading to lower demand for our exports."

> Export Incentives

A member of board of directors at Tose'e Saderat Iran Bank, Mohammad-Jafar Mazde said the bank has offered incentives amounting to 23 trillion rials ($807 million at official exchange rate) to Iranian exporters over the year ending on March 20, 2015. The bank offered $800 million in foreign currency loans to exporters during the period.

Tose'e Saderat Iran Bank is a state-owned bank created with the aim of increasing non-oil exports and development of international trade. The bank's main activities include offering incentives for export of goods and services, investment loans for construction or development of economic projects in and outside the country, issuance of banking guarantees in national and foreign currencies and opening letters of credit.