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Iran, U.S. Trade Plunges In First Year Of Trump Presidency

Photo of an Iranian port at the Persian Gulf.
Photo of an Iranian port at the Persian Gulf.

Trade between the U.S. and Iran declined significantly during first year of Donald Trump’s presidency.

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, Iran’s exports to the U.S. decreased by about 39 percent on the year to $63.2 million in 2017, and imports to Iran from the U.S. declined 25 percent to $137.7 million.

With the exception of 2014, when Iran’s exports to the U.S. dropped to zero and imports from the U.S. accordingly took a dive, 2017 saw the lowest level of trade between the two countries in the last 15 years.

U.S.-Iran trade - Source: United States Census Bureau (millions of dollars)
U.S.-Iran trade - Source: United States Census Bureau (millions of dollars)

Statistics indicate that between 2000-2007 the trade balance favored Iran, but then the value of U.S. exports to Iran grew significantly higher than imports, especially between 2011-2014, when imports from Iran sunk to under $2.2 million annually.

The U.S. exports mainly pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and agricultural products to Iran, while it imports carpets, pistachios, dried fruits, and other foods from Iran.

Iran, EU trade flourishes

Trade between Iran and the EU, meanwhile, has increased significantly, thanks to the elimination of sanction in January 2016.

Iran’s nine-month trade statistics, released by Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization, indicate that Iran’s imports from the EU increased 28 percent on the year to $7.54 billion, though its non-oil exports to Europe declined by 11 percent to $1.06 billion.

Iran’s fiscal year started March 21.

Iran also resumed oil exports to the EU, supplying above 800,000 barrels per day of crude oil to the Union in 2017, according to Iran’s Oil Ministry.

Total imports during the nine months of this fiscal year also increased by 18.3 percent to $37.57 billion, while its non-oil exports declined 2.4 percent to $31.64 billion.

Iran includes gas condensate, natural gas liquids, and some other oil products to its non-oil export basket.