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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s trade with China, which had been registering deficits over the last decade, marked a turning point in the first quarter of 2017.

Iranian exports to its top trade partner saw a sharp rise of 69.7% in value and 31% in tonnage year-on-year to register a record surplus in favor of the Islamic Republic, according to Iran-China Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

Iran exported 21.12 million tons of commodities, mainly oil and petrochemical products, worth $6.4 billion to China during the period.

China’s exports to Iran in the four months to May stood at 4.9 million tons worth $5.7 billion, down 44% in tonnage and up 30.7% in value, Financial Tribune reported.

Its growing demand has presented a lively market for Iran exporters. Developments in the Chinese economy in recent years have increased peoples’ purchasing power in the 1.37-billion-strong country. This increase has paved the way for Iran to boost its non-oil exports and promote trade with China.

According to Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Iran’s exports to China increased from $3.12 billion in the fiscal 2008-9 to $8.17 billion in the fiscal 2016-17.

Iran’s imports from China rose from $4.79 billion to $10.73 billion over the same 10-year period.

Bilateral trade has grown under the government of President Hassan Rouhani. It has registered a 70% growth, rising from $45 billion during the four years in office of former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to over $76 billion since Rouhani took office in August 2013.

A total of $43.73 billion worth of commodities have been imported into Iran from China under Rouhani, registering a 66.5% increase compared to the value of all Chinese exports to Iran under the previous administration.

Iran’s imports from China mainly consist of intermediate and capital goods for industrial machinery and equipment, cast iron, steel, completely knocked-down parts of road construction machinery, plastic products as well as electric and electronic devices and machinery.

Yet, consumer goods such as apparel, mobile phones, polyester, chemicals, household appliances and telecommunications equipment make up a considerable share of Iran’s imports from the world’s second biggest economy.

The increase in imports followed the removal of international sanctions against trade with Iran in January 2016 as a consequence of the nuclear deal the country signed with world powers in 2015. The removal of sanctions made it possible for foreign ships, including Chinese ones, to once again dock in Iranian ports.

Iran’s non-oil exports to China, including iron ore, copper concentrates, sulfur, marble and travertine stones, have increased by 73% under Rouhani to reach $32.45 billion.

Iran-China trade Iran exports