Import Restrictions Further Eased for Border Areas in Iran
EghtesadOnline: With the ratification of the Iranian Cabinet on Feb. 6, the ban on importing 100 types of commodities included in the so-called Group IV was lifted.
Last June, the import of 1,339 commodities categorized as “non-essential goods with domestic counterparts”, i.e. Group IV, was banned by the government to save foreign currency and support domestic products.
Last month, 47 commodities were removed from the list of banned imports and residents of border towns were given the green light to legally bring in previously banned goods, such as essential commodities like rice (30 kg per person annually), sugar (15 kilograms per person annually), tea (1 kg per person annually), vegetable oil (10 kg per person annually), paper (7 kg per person annually), coffee and oilseeds, according to Financial Tribune.
The list also includes a variety of appliances, including laptop computer and tablets, mobile phones, audio/visual systems, scanner, electric kettle, camera, hairdryer and clothes iron, Fars News Agency reported.
Other commodities lifted from the ban include baby diapers, motorcycles, agricultural machinery, auto parts, textile and textile machinery.
More than six months into the initial ban, the government seems to be willing to let go of the restrictions gradually.
Last month, it was announced that banned imports, which had secured order registration permits before the directive came into effect, could be transferred to and cleared from free trade zones and special economic zones.
Order registration refers to the process of listing import items with the customs authorities. It is the first step for importing any commodity.
In another development, the validity period of orders registered for imports with the Trade Promotion Organization has been extended from three months to six months to lower the odds of their revocation due to difficulties arising from a prolonged customs clearance process.
According to a report by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, a lengthy order registration process, missed import deadlines and the requisites needed for re-obtaining permit from the Industries Ministry and many other organizations as well as problems pertaining to the allocation and transfer of foreign currency and expiration of commercial ID cards (issued by the Industries Ministry, which identifies applicants through Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture and permits individuals and entities to trade under certain conditions) are challenges facing importers.
On the order of its newly-appointed chief Mehdi Mirashrafi, IRICA recently introduced a so-called emergency plan to speed up the clearance of imports and reduce the pile-up of goods at ports, particularly containers accumulated at the southern port of Shahid Rajaee in Hormozgan Province.