Economy, Domestic Economy

Emirati Newspaper Voices Optimism About Iran Trade

Emirati Newspaper Voices Optimism About Iran TradeEmirati Newspaper Voices Optimism About Iran Trade

The UAE and European Union’s trade with Iran could reach up to $59 billion by 2018 following the easing of economic sanctions imposed on Tehran.

According to Emirati newspaper 7Days that cited the organizers of a major maritime conference as saying the team behind Seatrade Maritime Middle East believes the UAE is one of Iran’s largest non-oil trading partners and is also among Iran’s largest sources of imported goods worth about $27.3 billion.

The UAE accounted for 96.7% of exports to Iran by Arab states in the Persian Gulf region in 2013. As far as Arab imports from Iran go, the UAE accounts for more than 62%, with Oman taking 26%, they added.

“With the majority of US secondary sanctions and EU sanctions already removed, this is a milestone moment in the growth of our industry, opening up a wealth of trading opportunities as well as investment opportunities to support Iran’s maritime sector, particularly infrastructure development,” said Andrew Williams, the general manager at Seatrade.

The conference, now in its eighth year, takes place from October 31 to November 2 at the Dubai World Trade Center. It will host discussions of Iran’s infrastructure, oil and gas projects.

The Emirati paper’s report comes against the backdrop of recent tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which has also affected Tehran-Abu Dhabi ties. Unless the UAE separates its economic activities from political influences, its bilateral trade ties with Iran will shrink.

The Saudi execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in January sparked a flurry of retaliatory developments between Tehran and Riyadh. A group of protesters broke into the vacant Saudi Embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad.

Iranian authorities condemned the attack and called for the prosecution of perpetrators. Nonetheless, Riyadh halted diplomatic and trade ties as well as air traffic with Tehran.

Soon after, a group of Saudi allies, including Bahrain, Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia, followed suit and broke off diplomatic ties with Iran, while Kuwait and Qatar recalled their envoys and the UAE downgraded its relations to chargé d’affaires.

Consequently, Iranian officials have suggested that considering Omani ports similarities with those of the UAE and Muscat’s time-tested friendly ties with the Islamic Republic, Oman stands to gradually replace UAE when it comes to commercial relations. This will mark a huge commercial setback for UAE traders.