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Iran’s Trade With Arab States Drops Sharply

Shahid Rajaiee port, Hormozgan Province of Iran, is only hours away from the UAE by boat. Undated Photo.

Farzad Piltan, the Director-General of the Islamic Republic's Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) 's Office of Arabian and African Countries, says that $2.5 billion of non-oil goods were exported to Arab states in the Persian Gulf region in the first five months of the current Iranian calendar year beginning March 20, 2020.

Iran's total non-oil exports to Arab countries decreased by $3.5 billion compared to last year. In the first five months of 2019, the figure was $6 billion.

Farzad Pilton , from the TPO public relations office, said that Iraq is the Islamic Republic's second-largest export destination, with $ 1.8 billion of Iranian products immediately behind China.

Data for the first five months of last year show that Iraq imports of non-oil goods from Iran were $ 3.5 billion. Thus, Iran's non-oil exports to Iraq have been almost halved.

Piltan also said that Iran's non-oil exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the fifth-largest destination for Iranian products, were $ 310 million. In the same period, Iran's exports to the UAE were more than $ 1.6 billion and now has decreased to less than one-fifth of that number.

"In the first five months of the year, Iran exported $110 million to Oman and about $160 million to Kuwait, Syria, and Qatar," Piltan said.

Furthermore, the statistics presented by Piltan show that Iran has not exported any product to Saudi Arabia and Yemen during the first five months of the current Iranian calendar year.

Meanwhile, Piltan referred to the coronavirus pandemic and maintained, "Iran's exports show a $3.5 billion decline due to the coronavirus and closure of Iran's borders and suspension of trade across the region and globe."

Based on the statistics provided by Iranian customs, Iran's total non-oil exports in the first five months of this year amounted to $10.9 billion, with a 40% decrease over the same period last year.

However, for the first time, Iran has included gasoline exports in its non-oil export basket. Therefore, without calculating gasoline, the country's non-oil exports have dropped much further.

Iran exported nearly $700 million worth of gasoline in the second quarter 0f 2020, equivalent to more than 11 percent of the country's total non-oil exports in the same period.