EghtesadOnline: Iran traded 150,893 tons of non-oil commodities worth $108.53 million with Sri Lanka during the 10 months to Jan. 20 to register a 52.84% increase in tonnage and a 4.35% decrease in value compared with last year's corresponding period, data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show.
Iran’s exports to Sri Lanka stood at 133,208 tons worth $38.82 million, up 78.46% and 69.37% in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year. Sri Lanka was Iran’s 41st export destination during the period.
Iran mainly exported bitumen, non-alloy semi-finished iron/steel products and turbines to Sri Lanka during the 10-month period.
Sri Lanka exported 17,684 tons of goods worth $69.7 million to Iran, down 26.57% and 23.01% in tonnage and value respectively YOY. Sri Lanka was the 36th exporter of goods to Iran over the 10 months, Financial Tribune reported.
The imports mainly included tea, cans, doors and coconut.
Sri Lankan Tea Board Chairman Lucille Wijewardena recently said that with the imposition of trade embargoes on Iran, obtaining payments for tea exports from Sri Lanka to Iran is causing difficulties.
"The European Union imposed an embargo on Nov. 5 last year, the United States had then imposed an economic embargo on Iran making it difficult to obtain dollar settlements. Some 32 million kilograms of tea are exported to Iran annually, which has now fallen by about 10 million kilograms," he was quoted as saying by Daily Mirror.
Wijewardena said Iran was the fourth largest purchaser of Sri Lankan tea.
He had earlier said Sri Lanka bought crude oil in exchange for the tea, but with the EU and US-imposed embargo, exporters are finding it extremely difficult for tea exporters to obtain payment.
Yet, India may be better positioned in the Iranian market under the circumstances.
“The rupee-rial trade between India and Iran will help Indian tea exporters," Vivek Goenka, chairman of Indian Tea Association, said recently.
Under a rupee payment mechanism to circumvent US-imposed sanctions against Tehran, Indian refiners make payments in rupee for oil imports from Iran to designated accounts maintained with UCO Bank of India. A portion thus received is to be used by Iran to pay for imports from India.