EghtesadOnline: Mineral products constituted the largest share of Iran's exports to Turkey during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Nov. 21).
Data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show a total of 1.24 million tons of non-oil commodities worth $959.16 million were exported from Iran to the neighboring country, down 67.06% and 32.92% in tonnage and value respectively compared with the preceding year's corresponding period.
In fact, Turkey was Iran’s sixth biggest export destination in the world, Financial Tribune reported.
According to an IRNA report, Iran exported 441,311 tons of mineral products worth $404.6 million to Turkey during the period.
Zinc topped the list of Iran's exports to Turkey with 38,700 tons worth $110.9 million, followed by 41,200 tons of aluminum products worth $85 million and 138,800 tons of steel products worth $74.5 million
The mineral exports had an over 45% share in Iran's overall exports to the neighboring country.
Ferroalloy, earthenware, ceramics, tiles, aluminum and alumina powder, coal, coke, titanium, zinc, lead, cement, chrome, molybdenum and different types of rocks were the main exported minerals.
Among the mineral products, zinc topped the list of exports with 38,700 tons worth $110.9 million, followed by aluminum products with 41,200 tons worth $85 million and steel products with 138,800 tons worth $74.5 million.
Precious metals and stones had the lowest shares in Iran’s mineral exports to Turkey during the period.
According to Director General of Azarbaijan Railways General Bureau, Shapour Arsalani, 19,300 tons of Iranian steel products have been exported to Turkey via railroad since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21, 2018), Mehr News Agency reported on Saturday.
Mineral Imports From Turkey
Iran also imports certain mineral products from Turkey. Steel had the largest share of imports from the neighboring country during the same period with 62,000 tons worth $53.6 million, followed by zinc with 82,800 tons worth $23.2 million and metal industries with 4,600 tons worth $14.7 million.
IRICA data show that a total of 812,090 tons of goods worth $1.56 billion were imported into Iran from Turkey during the eight months to Nov. 21, down by 36.62% and 26.13% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
This made Turkey the seventh biggest exporter to Iran in the world.
Bilateral non-oil trade for the period, according to the customs administration, stood at 2.05 million tons of non-oil goods worth $2.5 billion, indicating a 59.33% and 28.93% decrease in tonnage and value respectively YOY.
Apart from mineral products, Iran exported bitumen, urea and polyethylene grade film to Turkey and imported cooking bananas, tobacco, fibers, cotton and auto parts in return.
Turkish Statistical Institute's latest data show Iran’s bilateral trade with neighboring Turkey totaled $8.25 billion during the first 10 months of 2018 to register a decline of 10.31% compared with last year’s corresponding period.
Iran exported $.22 billion worth of goods to Turkey during the period, indicating a 5.6% decline year-on-year. In return, the Islamic Republic imported $2.02 billion worth of Turkish goods, down 22.24% YOY.
Iran was Turkey’s 20th export destination and the seventh biggest exporter of goods to the country during the 10 months ending in October.
$30b Trade Target
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani visited Turkey earlier this month.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the fifth meeting of Iran-Turkey High Council of Strategic Cooperation in Ankara, the two sides said they will support efforts aimed at raising annual bilateral trade to $30 billion from the current $11 billion.
They stated that this target can be achieved by providing further support to the joint economic commission, carving out new areas of cooperation, creating an environment more conducive to investment, facilitating the transit of goods and engaging the private sectors of the two countries, the Iranian president’s website reported.
Exemption From US Sanctions
Turkey was among the eight governments that received US waivers to keep importing Iranian oil even after US President Donald Trump’s administration imposed punishing sanctions on Iran's energy and banking sectors as part of the decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord.
The US is demanding those countries reduce imports by a significant amount by the time the 180-day review period ends for the first round of waivers.
Turkey’s energy minister has said the US exemption only applies to a quarter of Turkey’s oil imports from Iran, meaning it will need to cut its purchase of Iranian crude to about 3 million tons, compared with the 11.5 million tons it bought last year.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the new US economic sanctions on Iran, saying Turkey will not abide as they are aimed at unbalancing the world.
“During the difficult times when Iran faced sanctions and in 2012 when economic restrictions were tightened on the country, Tehran-Ankara trade reached $22 billion. After Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers, the figure dropped to around $11 million. As such, predictions are that with the reimposition of US sanctions against Iran, commercial interactions between the two sides will once again experience an upward trend,” Chairman of Iran-Turkey Chamber of Commerce Reza Kami has been quoted as saying.
Kami said Turkish companies are willing to expand trade and invest in Iran, especially in northwestern regions of Iran bordering Turkey due to their common culture and language.
Admitting the fact that sanctions create handicaps in monetary transactions, Kami said the founding of an Iran-Turkey joint bank by the private sector will lead us out of this impeding situation.
“The Turks have agreed to the establishment of this bank. They have already begun the process and are now waiting for the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey to issue the required permit,” he said.
According to Mohsen Nariman, managing director of Aras Free Trade-Industrial Zone located in Iran's East Azarbaijan Province bordering Turkey, 60% of the companies operating in the zone are foreign companies while 30% are Turkish companies, adding that the region is free of tariffs and taxes.
He noted that among countries exempt from US sanctions, Turkey is considered the most important by Iran.
“We have had business relations with Turkey for many years and these relations cannot be broken,” he said.
Mineral Trade Surplus
Iran's trade surplus of mineral products increased notably to $4.58 billion, the latest report released by the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization reviewing the same eight months shows.
Iran exported about 39.88 million tons of mineral products worth over $6.87 billion, down 10% in tonnage and up 7% in value compared with last year's corresponding period.
Imports stood at 2.57 million tons worth $2.29 billion, dropping 36% in tonnage and 27% in value year-on-year.
IMIDRO's previous report showed Iran registered a trade surplus of $3.8 billion in for the first seven months of the current fiscal year (March 21-Oct. 22).
Steel, mainly semi-finished, had the largest share of both imports and exports of mineral products.
Iran is home to 68 types of minerals with more than 37 billion tons of proven reserves and 57 billion tons of potential reserves.
According to the United States Geological Survey, Iran holds the world's largest zinc, ninth largest copper, 10th largest iron ore, fifth largest gypsum and barite, and 10th largest uranium reserves.
Overall, Iran is home to more than 7% of global mineral reserves.