Iran’s non-oil exports rise 40% in 11 months despite sanctions

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Exports in the 11 months of 1400 rose 40% to $43.5 billion from $31.1 billion a year earlier, according to data from Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade ( IMT).

Imports during the period increased by 35.6%, from $34.3 billion to $46.5 billion.

The surge in non-oil exports suggests that the government’s oil substitution initiative aimed at easing US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry and shielding the economy from the impact of oil market volatility is gaining momentum.

It also showed that China has become Iran’s main ally in countering US sanctions. The long-standing trade relationship between the two countries has deepened since the United States imposed economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic in November 2018.

Tehran and Beijing signed a 25-year economic and security cooperation agreement in March 2020 to comprehensively improve their relations and elevate them to the level of a strategic partnership.

Last year, China absorbed 29% of Iran’s non-oil goods worth $12.6 billion, up 56% from $8.1 billion in the Persian year. previous one, according to IMT figures. The world’s largest exporter of goods granted Iran the third highest positive trade balance with a value of $1.5 billion during the period.

Iran, however, posted its biggest trade surplus with neighboring Iraq, worth $7.1 billion. The Arab country, Iran’s second largest trading partner, imported $8.2 billion worth of Iranian goods during the period, up 20 percent from a year earlier.

Iraq imports a wide range of goods from Iran, including food, agricultural products, household appliances, air conditioners and auto parts. The country also depends on Iran for natural gas which generates up to 45% of its electricity. Iran transmits an additional 1,000 megawatts directly to its southwestern neighbor.

Turkey was the third-largest importer of Iranian non-oil products worth $5.6 billion, the figures show. Iran’s exports to the country during the period increased by 151%, compared to $2.2 billion the previous year.

The UAE imported $4.2 billion worth of Iranian goods, almost unchanged from the previous year. It posted the largest trade surplus against Iran worth $10.3 billion during the period.

Afghanistan, Iran’s fifth-largest trading partner, imported $1.6 billion worth of Iranian goods, down 21 percent from a year earlier. The sudden rise to power of the Taliban in August reduced trade in goods between the two countries.

China, Iraq, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan – the top five trading partners – collectively accounted for 74.3% of Iran’s non-oil exports.

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