Masoud Karbasian
Economy, Domestic Economy

IRICA: Smuggling to Reduce to $6b This Year

Smuggling will see a sharp decline and reach $6 billion by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2017).
The director general of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Masoud Karbasian, made the statement on the sidelines of the meeting of the heads of customs departments of the Economic Cooperation Organization in Tehran on Wednesday, Mehr News Agency reported.
Karbasian noted that one of the methods of estimating the volume of smuggling is by adding up imports with domestic production and comparing it with the per capita consumption data announced by the Statistical Center of Iran, the difference of which will denote smuggling.  
About $15.5 billion worth of goods were smuggled into and out of Iran in the last Iranian year (March 2015-16), registering a 27.7% decrease compared to the year before, according to Iran’s Headquarters for Combating the Smuggling of Commodities and Foreign Exchange.
According to the headquarters, some 70 trillion rials (more than $1.96 billion at market exchange rate) worth of contraband have been confiscated in the first half of the current Iranian year.
“Our efforts in combating smuggling at land and sea borders as well as transit routes have turned it into a high-risk activity,” the organization’s spokesman, Qasem Khorshidi, was quoted as saying late last month.
The month of August saw the destruction of 400 tons of smuggled goods worth 150 billion rials ($4.24 million) in Tehran in what is said to be the largest destruction of contraband in Iran in 38 years.
Khorshidi puts the total amount of seized contraband for the past fiscal year (March 2015-16) at $1.4 billion.
Apparel, foodstuff, mobile phones, gold ingots and household appliances top the list of incoming contraband, accounting for 41% of the smuggled goods.
Fuel is the main item smuggled out of Iran due to its cheap price compared to that in neighboring countries like Turkey and Pakistan.

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