EghtesadOnline: The recent ban imposed on the import of certain products has caused serious problems for countries wishing to continue trade with Iran, despite United States' sanctions.
The issue was raised in a meeting attended by Deputy Industries Minister and President of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Mojtaba Khosrotaj, commercial attaches, traders and embassy officials from different countries in Tehran International Exhibition Center's Persian Gulf Hall on August 15.
The session opened with Khosrotaj's presentation on Iran's import and export potentials and statistics, as well as his explanation of the different groups of products with regard to their import status, pointing to the fact that the ban was forced on decision-makers after the US withdrew in May from the nuclear deal struck between Iran and world powers, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The government banned the import of 1,339 items of commodities categorized as “non-essential goods with domestic counterparts” in June. The import of cars, refrigerators and freezers, automatic folding cabin doors of elevators, farm tractors, milk powder, ambulances, range hoods, stoves, ovens, tea- and coffee-makers, cameras, musical instruments and auto parts has been prohibited. The move is said to be aimed at economizing on foreign currency, Financial Tribune reported.
What followed TPO chief's remarks in Wednesday's meeting were inquiries by representatives of different countries, including Britain, Denmark, Belgium and Croatia, concerning the nature of the import-ban list, its details and ways of removing products from it.
They were worried that such a list would further discourage companies, especially European ones, from investing in Iran or working with Iranian counterparts, regardless of the European Union's efforts to cushion the blows of the newly-reinstated sanctions to the Iranian economy.
Another problem was that the full list is not yet translated into English, adding to the confusion of the edgy trade partners of Iran.
According to Khosrotaj, the items on the import ban list constitute a mere 7.5% of Iran's total imports and that it is also temporary.
"The ban will probably be lifted by the end of the current Iranian year (March 2019)," he said.
The official noted that the list is reviewed every three months, and companies who want certain products to be taken off the list can appeal to TPO.
"The English version of the list will soon be prepared to mitigate the confusions. In the meantime, other signatories of the JCPOA are expected to move beyond verbal support and stand by Iran's side," he said.
In an official comment after the meeting, Khosrotaj told Financial Tribune that the meeting was meant to facilitate investment in Iran by foreigners, ease their mind and give them an accurate account of Iran's commercial potentials.
"The meeting today was the first in a series of meetings and TPO will try to hold one such meeting every season," he told us.