Economy, Domestic Economy

Iran-UAE Trade Unaffected by Saudi Strife

Iran-UAE Trade Unaffected by Saudi StrifeIran-UAE Trade Unaffected by Saudi Strife

Tensions between Tehran and Riyadh have not influenced Iran's commercial relations with the UAE, one of Iran's main trade partners, according to the chairman of the UAE Department at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.

This is despite the UAE's downgrading of ties to charge d’affaires, following a group of Saudi allies who broke ties with Iran in the wake of rising tensions between Tehran and Riyadh over the latter's execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in January.

In recent years, ports of the UAE, notably Dubai's Jebel Ali Port, continue to play a significant role in Iran's foreign trade. Iranians have deep-rooted trade ties with Emirati cities, especially Dubai, which account for 90% of the Arab country's trade with Iran, IRNA reported.

"The reason trade volume with UAE, Dubai in particular, has decreased is that after the lifting of trade sanctions against Iran [imposed by the West over the country's nuclear program] in mid-January, instead of using the UAE as an intermediary for trade, we can now directly purchase goods from other countries that were previously banned from conducting business with Iran," Eqtesad News quoted Masoud Daneshmand as saying.

"If banking relations between the two countries is normalized, bilateral trade will further increase in 3-4 years."  

Recently, Emirati newspaper 7Days, citing the organizers of a major maritime conference, also voiced optimism about the future of Iran-UAE economic ties, saying bilateral trade is expected to see a remarkable boost in the coming years.

“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 of Seatrade Maritime Middle East.

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 UAE imported 4.131 million tons of Iranian goods worth $1.77 billion during the first quarter of the Iranian fiscal year (March 20-June 20, 2016). Iran's exports to the UAE, which accounted for 17% of Iran’s total exports, experienced an 11% decrease.

In return, the UAE exported 1.21 million tons of goods worth $1.53 billion to Iran during the same three-month period. Despite a 37% decline, the Arab country kept its title as Iran’s second largest trading partner.

According to the latest statistics, the UAE was the biggest destination for Iran’s saffron exports in the two months starting March 20, accounting for 11 tons worth over $18.6 million out of the 25.5 tons worth more than $32.4 million of overall exports during the period.