Economy, Domestic Economy

7-Month Foreign Trade Tops $49 Billion

China remains Iran’s biggest trade partner
7-Month Foreign Trade Tops $49 Billion
7-Month Foreign Trade Tops $49 Billion
Gas condensate was the main exported commodity ($4.5 million) and field corn was the main import ($679 million)

Iran’s non-oil foreign trade during the seven months of the current Iranian year (started March 20) stood at $49.16 billion.

According to the latest report released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, 72.24 million tons of non-oil commodities worth $24.65 billion were exported during the seven-month period, registering a 4.34% rise compared with the corresponding period of last year.

Imports stood at 18.72 million tons worth $24.51 billion, indicating a 0.10% decline year-on-year.

Gas condensate was the main exported commodity ($4.5 million), making up for 16.43% of the export value. It was followed by liquefied natural gases ($1.95 billion), petroleum gases and liquefied hydrocarbons ($888 million), light crude oil, excluding gasoline ($828 million) and liquefied propane ($694 million).

The main imports included field corn ($679 million), soybean ($534 million), rice ($508 million), auto parts ($498 million) and different types of vehicles ($407 million).

China was the biggest customer of Iranian products during the seven-month period as Iran exported $4.43 billion worth of goods to the Asian country, 2.48% less than last year's corresponding figure. Other major export destinations included the UAE with $3.88 billion, Iraq with $3.5 billion, Turkey with $2.5 billion and South Korea with $1.95 billion.

The value of exports to Turkey and South Korea indicates an increase of 11.34% and 786% respectively over last year, whereas exports to the UAE and Iraq had a 17.37% and 2.44% decline.

Major exporters to Iran included China ($5.71 billion), the UAE ($4.98 billion), South Korea ($1.88 billion), Turkey ($1.55 billion) and Germany ($1.27 billion). Imports from China show a decline of 5.54%, the UAE 13.9%, South Korea 13.54% and Turkey 15.26%. However, imports from Germany show a 25% rise year-on-year.

Iran’s non-oil foreign trade stood at $81.38 billion for the past Iranian fiscal year (March 2015-16). Imports amounted to $40.13 billion—down 22.77% compared with the preceding year. These mainly originated from China, the UAE, South Korea, Turkey and Switzerland.

Exports reached $41.24 billion, indicating a 16.3% drop. China, Iraq, the UAE, Afghanistan and India were the main export destinations.

> President Stresses Improvement of Standards

October 20 was marked as the National Export Day by high-ranking officials, economic players and exporters from the public and private sectors who got together to review the country’s export performance in the past year and surveyed the prospects of improving their performance.

Speaking in the ceremony on Thursday, President Hassan Rouhani said the first step toward having profitable exports is to raise the quality of Iranian products and services, enhance production standards and lower the prices of domestically-made goods.

“Substandard products and services have no place in the modern international market and are unfit for the domestic market as well,” he said.

“The government is making a great deal of effort in combating smuggling and has managed to reduce the rate of smuggling from $25 billion [before Rouhani took office] to $15 billion. Yet, a more effective way to tackle the issue is by producing goods on par with national and international standards at competitive prices.”

"At present, Iran exports to 150 countries," Saman Panahi, an economic researcher, wrote in the Persian weekly, Tejarat-e-Farda.

According to the latest figures, 93% of all Iranian exports go to 20 countries, namely China, the UAE, Iraq, Turkey, South Korea, India, Afghanistan, Japan, Pakistan, Oman, Azerbaijan, Italy, Turkmenistan, Taiwan, Spain, Armenia, Germany, Thailand, Syria and Egypt, and the remaining 130 countries are destinations of only 7% of Iranian goods.

Moreover, only 20 products account for over 58% of all non-oil exports, with 6,000 commodities constituting the rest.

According to Saeed Gholami-Baghi with the Majlis Research Center, these figures show lack of diversity in Iran’s exports and export destinations, which puts the country’s foreign trade at risk.

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