EghtesadOnline: Trade between Iran and the 28 member states of the European Union during January-October amounted to €16.58 billion, which shows a 6.66% rise compared with the similar period of last year.
Iran’s top five trade partners over the period were Italy, Germany, Spain, France and Greece with more than €4.28 billion, €2.7 billion, €2.52 billion, €2.36 billion and €1.18 billion worth of commercial exchanges respectively.
Trade with Croatia (€65.03 million), Hungary (€90.57 million) Latvia (€6.42 million), Austria (€682.9 million) and Spain (€2.52 billion) saw the highest growths of 1,400.8%, 158.6%, 119.9%, 89.6% and 70.6% respectively.
Iran experienced the sharpest decline in trade with Cyprus (59.9%), Malta (54.3%), Portugal (50.7%), Bulgaria (43.6%) and Romania (33.5%), according to Financial Tribune.
The country exported more than €8.88 billion worth of commodities to EU member states during the 10-month period, which shows a 17.13% rise year-on-year, according to Eurostat data reviewed by Financial Tribune.
The main destinations of Iranian exports in the European bloc were Italy with €2.82 billion, Spain with €2.01 billion, France with €1.52 billion, Greece with €1.16 billion and Austria with €448.5 million.
Iran’s exports to Croatia, Hungary and Luxembourg experienced the highest rise, while exports to Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Latvia saw the sharpest decline.
The top 10 exported commodities included mineral fuel, mineral oil and products of their distillation, bituminous substances and mineral waxes (€7.81 billion), iron and steel (€237.74 million), edible fruit and nuts, zest of citrus fruit or melons (€210.1 million), plastics and articles thereof (€165.79 million), fertilizers (€51.45 million), organic chemicals (€39.56 million), coffee, tea and spices (€34.33 million), animal products (€29.41 million), carpets and other floor coverings (€28.67 million) and pharmaceutical products (€25.23 million).
As for Iranian imports from the EU during the 10 months, they decreased by more than 3.32% YOY to stand at €7.69 billion.
The top five European exporters to Iran during the period were Germany with €2.33 billion, Italy with €1.46 billion, France with €836.39 million, the Netherlands with €605.19 million and Spain with €5.6.76 million worth of shipments.
Iran’s imports from Latvia, Spain and Finland saw the highest growths whereas those from Malta, Cyprus and Portugal declined.
The imported products mainly included nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances and parts (€2.85 billion), electrical machinery and equipment, sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers and parts (€724.44 million), pharmaceutical products (€611.54 million) and optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus (€552.85 million).
Vehicles other than rail or tramway rolling stock and parts and accessories thereof (€499.84 million), iron or steel products (€288.13 million), miscellaneous chemical products (€250.99 million), plastics and plastic articles (€176.27 million), essential oils and resinoids, perfumes, cosmetics or toilet preparations (€128.7 million) and organic chemicals ($122.22 million) constituted the other imported products.
EU Working to Continue Iran Trade Despite Sanctions
The European Union is working on a special transaction mechanism called Special Purpose Vehicle to keep trade with Iran flowing in the face of reimposed US sanctions.
The United States has unilaterally abandoned the nuclear deal it signed with Iran as well as France, the UK, China, Russia and Germany in 2015 and reimposed a new series of self-devised sanctions against the Islamic Republic in two waves: one took effect in August this year and the other in November. The US aims to impede Iran's trade with other countries, much as the measure is opposed by Europe as well as Iran's other trading partners across the world.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief said earlier this month, a system to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran and circumvent US sanctions could be in place by the yearend.
Asked about progress on SPV, Federica Mogherini also told reporters: “I would expect this instrument to be established in the coming weeks so before the end of the year, as a way to protect and promote legitimate business with Iran.”
She did not offer any other details following a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels, but said work on creating the mechanism was “advancing well”.
France and Germany are now due to take joint responsibility for the SPV. But EU diplomats have said its ambitions could be scaled back to encompass only less sensitive items such as humanitarian and food products, rather than oil trade.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the bloc’s ministers in a closed-door meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Nov. 19 that Paris and Berlin were working closely to achieve something by the yearend, Reuters has quoted two unnamed EU diplomats as saying.
The SPV, which could incorporate a barter system, aims to sidestep the US financial system by using an EU intermediary to handle trade with Iran. It could ensure, for example, that Iranian oil bought by Europeans could be paid for with EU goods and services of the same value.