EghtesadOnline: A total of €18.39 billion worth of commodities were traded between Iran and the European Union member states in 2018, registering a 12.2% decline compared with the value of commercial exchanges in the previous year, the latest Eurostat data published on its website show.
Eurostat (European Statistical Office) is a directorate of the European Commission located in Luxembourg. Its main responsibilities are to provide statistical information to European Union institutions and to promote the harmonization of statistical methods across its member states and candidates for accession as well as EFTA countries. Organizations in different countries that cooperate with Eurostat are grouped under the European Statistical System.
The data show trade balance tilted toward Iran with the country registering €550 in surplus with EU states last year, indicating a significant improvement compared to the €704.06 million deficit in 2017.
Iran-EU trade stood at €20.95 billion during 2017, showing a 52.41% increase compared with the 2016 figures, Financial Tribune reported.
Iran's top five European trading partners last year were Italy with more than €4.61 billion worth of bilateral trade, Germany with €3.11 billion, Spain with €2.61 billion, France with €2.42 billion and the Greece with €1.27 billion.
Trade with Hungary jumped by 230.2% year-on-year to reach nearly €160.47 million—the highest increase in bilateral exchange between Iran and EU members.
Following Hungary, Iran's trade with Austria, Latvia, Spain, Finland, Croatia and Slovenia saw the highest year-on-year increase of 73%, 67.1%, 32.3%, 18.1%, 14.2% and 11.7% to stand at €722.96 million, €6.64 million, €2.61 billion, €137.29 million, €66.85 million and €79.02 million respectively.
Iran's trade with Malta, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Romania, Bulgaria and France saw the biggest year-on-year decline of 60.8%, 59.1%, 54.5%, 45%, 42.2%, 37.3% and 35.8%% to stand at €360,545, €26.44 million, €5.38 million, €1 billion, €71.79 million, €564.84 million and €2.42 billion respectively.
6% Decrease in Exports
Iran exported €9.47 billion worth of commodities to the EU’s 28 member states in 2018, indicating a 6.4% fall YOY.
Italy with €2.92 billion worth of purchases was Iran’s main export destination, followed by Spain (€2.02 billion), France (€1.53 billion), Greece (€1.24 billion) and Austria (€454.19 million).
Exports to Hungary (€131.07 million) experienced the highest YOY rise of 5,272.6%.
Iran’s exports to the Netherlands saw the biggest YOY decline of 64.3% to reach €267.08 million.
Iran’s main exported commodities were mineral fuels, oils, products of their distillation, bituminous substances and mineral waxes worth €8.25 billion, iron and steel worth €256.12 million; fruit, nuts and zest of citrus fruits or melons worth €237.61 million; plastics and articles thereof worth €192.89 million; fertilizers worth €53.4 million; organic chemicals worth €44.57 million; coffee, tea, milk powder and spices worth €42.55 million; carpets and other textile floor coverings worth €36.39 million; products of animal origin worth €34.38 million; and nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, mechanical appliances and parts worth €29.23 million.
Imports Down 17%
Imports from the European bloc stood at over €8.92 billion last year, indicating a 17.6% decrease YOY.
Germany (€2.7 billion), Italy (€1.68 billion), France (€895.63 million), the Netherlands (€734.93 million) and Spain (€585.45 million) topped the list of EU countries from where Iran imported goods over the period.
Iran’s imports from Latvia were €6.42 million to register the highest YOY increase of 77.7% while imports from Malta registered the sharpest drop of 85.5% to stand at €108,283.
The EU’s main exported commodities to Iran included nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, mechanical appliances and parts thereof worth €3.23 billion; electrical machinery, equipment and parts, sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders, reproducers and accessories worth €839.14 million; pharmaceutical products worth €738.39 million; and optical, photographical, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus, parts and accessories worth €629.99 million.
Vehicles other than rail or tramway rolling stock and parts and accessories worth €556.93 million; miscellaneous chemical products worth €306.12 million; iron and steel products worth €297.34 million; plastics and related products worth €214.04 million; organic chemicals worth €157.42 million and essential oils and resinoids, perfumery, cosmetics or toilet preparations worth €152.79 million constituted other major export commodities.
Iran-EU trade took a 74.1% nosedive in December 2018 to stand at €544.23 million.
Iran exported close to €125.2 million worth of products to EU members and imported more than €419.03 million in return, showing an 86% and 66.1% plunge respectively compared with the similar period of 2017.
The nosedive in bilateral trade started from November when commercial exchanges declined by 66.02% year-on-year to stand at €679.55 million. Iran’s exports hit €209.98 million in November, registering a 78.12% plunge as imports fell by 54.86% to reach €469.56 million.
Notably, Iran exported €716.17 million (84%) less mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation, bituminous substances and mineral waxes to EU destinations in November compared with the same month of 2017.
The United States began to impose the second tranche of sanctions described as "toughest sanctions ever" against the Islamic Republic after the first wave hit in August, effectively impeding Iran's trade with major countries.
The sanctions were implemented after US President Donald Trump announced in May his country's unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal it signed together with five other world powers, namely the UK, Germany, France, China and Russia.
The deal, better known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed in 2015 and implemented a year later. It saw the removal of years of international sanctions against Iran. In exchange, the Islamic Republic agreed to limit the scope of its nuclear program.