EghtesadOnline: Iran traded 530,432 tons of non-oil commodities worth $104.43 million with Qatar during the first four months of the current fiscal year (March 21-July 22), registering a 9.24% decline in tonnage and 96.13% jump in value compared with last year's corresponding period.
The latest data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration also indicate that Iran’s exports to Qatar stood at 530,323 tons worth $98.97 million, down 9.09% in tonnage and up 125.70% in value year-on-year.
Hadi Haqshenas, the deputy head of Ports and Maritime Organization, said Qataris have called for improving maritime transport services between the southern port of Bushehr and Qatar’s Hamad Port, ILNA reported.
Referring to the significant growth in maritime traffic between Iranian and Qatari ports, the official noted that Turkey and other countries can easily transport their goods to Qatar via Bushehr, according to Financial Tribune.
Qatar was Iran’s 19th export destination during the period.
Iran mainly exported tar, rolled iron and steel bars, and non-alloy iron and steel products to Qatar during the four-month period.
Meanwhile, Qatar exported 109 tons of goods worth $5.45 million to Iran, down 89.94% and 41.91% in tonnage and value YOY respectively. Qatar was the 61st exporter of goods to Iran over the four months.
Imports mainly included chemicals, devices related to blood examination and blood products.
Iran and Qatar have been forging stronger economic ties ever since a number of Arab states—led by Saudi Arabia—abruptly severed diplomatic relations with Doha early June and imposed a blockade on the Persian Gulf country, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups.
The Qatari government has denied the accusation, blasting the blockade as unjustified and a violation of international law. Following the development, Iranian exporters have vied for the Qatari market in the absence of Doha's traditional Arab partners.
Qatar's Ambassador to Iran Ali bin Hamad al-Sulaiti thanked Tehran for its assistance to Doha one year after diplomatic and economic sanctions were imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran pioneered aid and humanitarian assistance to the Qatari government and tried to reduce the negative impacts of the siege on Qatari citizens. It opened its airspace to the Qatari planes and rapidly sent foodstuff to make up for the abrupt cut in export of goods by the four countries. It also provided a passage for transferring goods by many countries to the Qatari government,” Sulaiti wrote in a memo.
In a telephone conversation with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Sunday, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani called for closer economic and political relations.
Highlighting Iran’s engineering capabilities, Rouhani said, “Iranian companies are willing to export technical and engineering services [to Qatar], particularly for partnership in carrying out construction projects in Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” Tasnim News Agency reported.
Calling for further efforts to facilitate the activities of Iranian and Qatari businesses, he proposed enhancing port and maritime cooperation by “establishing a joint shipping line”, noting that there is no obstacle to stronger mutual cooperation.
Doha signed a transportation agreement with Turkey and Iran in November 2017 to facilitate trilateral trade and increase exports to Qatar in the wake of the blockade.
In March, the International Monetary Fund said the effect of the blockade on economic activity in Qatar had been “transitory”, as new trade routes were quickly established and growth remained positive.