EghtesadOnline: Do as the Trump administration says, not as the United States president’s tweets, is the New Zealand trade minister’s message to local businesses looking to continue exporting to Iran.
New Zealand Trade Minister David Parker said there was no cause for concern that exporting businesses would find themselves unfairly penalized by the US, if they were trading within the policy document guidelines, Stuff.co.nz reported.
Those guidelines were released at the same time as a tweet from US President Donald Trump, threatening a US trade ban on any country trading with Iran.
But the official documents lay out the restrictions the US was looking to apply, alongside its own decision to reinstate a number of sanctions on the Middle Eastern state, targeting the Iranian currency and trade in gold and other precious metals, as well as the countries automotive sector, Financial Tribune reported.
A second phase of sanctions was planned to come back into effect in November, which will have implications for Iran’s energy and shipping sectors, petroleum trading and transactions by foreign financial institutions with the Central Bank of Iran.
An exemption for trading of “humanitarian” goods was in place, and Parker gave an assurance to businesses that they would not be penalized for trading those goods.
“His tweet was released contemporaneously with their more detailed policy, which makes it clear that their normal exemptions in respect of humanitarian trade, which is food and medicine, is not covered by their ban,” Parker said.
The president’s comments showed the “limitation of tweets”.
Parker confirmed New Zealand’s trade with Iran fell under the humanitarian category.
New Zealand companies that fear being cut off from the far larger US market need not unnecessarily restrict themselves.
“If you were reliant on Twitter as a policy platform, yes,” Parker said. “But actually, I think just about everyone in the world knows the limitations of Twitter and they’ll be looking into the document that was released by the US Government at the same time as the Tweet.”
However, official advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade did advise caution.
It was “essential” businesses sought independent legal advice, if they were considering or already doing business with Iran.
“New Zealanders are also advised to consult their banks to ask about their policies on doing business with Iran,” the ministry said on its website.
Parker’s comments followed a tweet overnight from Trump, which suggested no exemptions would be applied to trading with Iran.
“The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” Trump claimed.
New Zealand’s view on the collapse of the Iran nuclear deal remained unchanged.
“For a start, we wanted the Iran nuclear deal to stick. We want New Zealand companies who can legitimately trade with Iran to continue to do ss. And the advice that I have had from the MFAT [Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade] is that humanitarian goods can been traded, including medicines and food,” Parker said.
A 2015 resolution, passed by the United Nations Security Council, endorsed the Iran nuclear deal and that remained despite the decision by the United States to withdraw from the deal. That meant New Zealand’s sanctions against Iran remain unchanged.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated Parker’s comments.
“New Zealand continues to support the Iran deal and its ultimate ambition to ensure we don’t have the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
“What we’ve seen from the US is that they intend to apply sanctions to those who don’t comply with guidelines they have put out, which essentially again suggests a return to where we’ve been previously, where things considered humanitarian are not caught.
“The vast majority of New Zealand’s exports would fall in that category so we anticipate would not be captured.” New Zealand companies sent about $120 million of goods to Iran last year.