EghtesadOnline: The ban placed by Afghanistan Customs Department on the import of Iranian oil products, cement, steel products, tiles and ceramics is related to Farah border crossing in Iran’s South Khorasan Province only.
Secretary-General of Iran-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce Mozaffar Alikhani added that the restrictions have been enforced to prevent violations of customs regulations in the absence of an online monitoring system between the two neighboring countries at the border terminal.
His comments came after Ali Shariati, a member of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, told ILNA on Saturday that the Afghanistan Customs Department has banned the import of abovementioned commodities from Iran as of Sept. 16, noting that the ban was aligned with the sanctions reimposed by the United States on Iran.
Shariati added that the Afghanistan Customs Department has asked all merchants and economic players to pay heed to the abovementioned directive and settle their accounts with their Iranian partners and as soon as possible, bring in the shipments that have been previously purchased, according to Financial Tribune.
Dismissing any such claims that the new restrictions are related to US sanctions, Alikhani said the goods in question continue to be exported as usual from Iran to Afghanistan through the border crossings of Dogharoun in Khorasan Razavi Province and Nimrouz in Sistan-Baluchestan Province.
President of Afghanistan Industrial Association Sakhi Ahmad Peyman has told ILNA that the ban is temporary.
“Imports of these commodities, which are considered essential goods by Afghanistan, continue from other borders. Pressure from the US cannot replace imports from Iran with those from China or Pakistan because this will mean higher end prices for us, on top of the fact that we lack the required logistics for this to take place through other border crossings,” he said.
It’s not clear, however, why only a select group of commodities appear in Afghanistan’s import ban list.
According to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, exports of goods other than those specified on the list continue as before from the Farah border crossing, known as Mahiroud on the Iranian side of the border.
According to Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Iran was Afghanistan’s biggest trade partner in the last fiscal year (March 2017-18) and exported goods worth over $1.98 billion to the neighboring country.
In comparison, trade volume was $1.2 billion between Afghanistan and Pakistan and $1 billion with China in the same period.
Afghanistan’s main imports from Iran are construction materials, food and fuel.
According to Afghanistan’s commercial attaché to Iran, Jaber Ansari, Iran holds a 22% share ($2.5 billion) from Afghanistan’s $11.5 billion consumer market.