Economy, Domestic Economy

Official Estimate: Smuggling Down 15-20%

The government of President Hassan Rouhani  has put up a fierce fight against the  inflow of contraband. The government of President Hassan Rouhani  has put up a fierce fight against the  inflow of contraband.

Some $12-13 billion worth of goods are estimated to have been smuggled into the country over the past Iranian year (March 2016-17) down from $15.5 billion compared to the previous year, registering a 15-20% decrease, the Headquarters to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchange’s spokesman said.

Qasem Khorshidi added that the exact data will be released in May.

“In 2013, when President Hassan Rouhani took office, less than 1% of all the goods smuggled into Iran was confiscated. The rate stood at 32% last year, which is a significant achievement,” he was quoted as saying by the Persian daily Iran.

“Last year’s customs revenues amounted to 180 trillion rials (more than $47.88 billion), registering a 60% hike compared with two years ago. This is while imports declined to nearly $43.6 billion last year, when the average tariff rate was 19.2%, from around $63 billion in 2013 when the average tariff rate stood at 27%,” he added.

Khorshidi noted that over the six months to September 21, 2016, demand for Iranian apparel rose by 40%.

“This shows that combating contraband can help boost local production. Demand for other domestic products, such as household appliances, auto spare parts, pharmaceuticals, foodstuff, cosmetics and toiletries has also increased over the period,” he added.

Admitting the huge losses inflicted on the Iranian economy by the scourge of smuggling, the Rouhani government has put up a fierce fight against the inflow of contraband.

“To enable the speedy scanning of containers, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration will add 19 trucks outfitted with X-ray equipment to the current 12 X-ray trucks available at the country’s customs terminals by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2018),” IRICA’s chief, Masoud Karbasian, said.

He noted that as per the contract signed with the Defense Ministry and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, a number of these equipment will be manufactured domestically and the rest will be imported.

Karbasian announced that the Defense Ministry has started making five of these trucks.

“The confiscation of contraband saw a 50% rise last Iranian year (March 2016-17) compared to a year before,” he said.

Iran’s police force recently launched a special protection unit for customs terminals across the country.

“Given the geographical location of Iran and the fact that it neighbors 15 countries and has 150 customs offices across the country, there was a need to upgrade customs security,” Karbasian was quoted as saying by IRICA’s website in a ceremony, which was also attended by Mohammad Sharafi, the head of Prevention Police with Iran’s Law Enforcement Force on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the High Council of Free Zones has given the nod to IRICA to exercise customs control and collect duties at the ports of entry of free trade zones.

Customs and border protection equipment were earlier installed only at the ports of FTZs up until now.

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