EghtesadOnline: While the US pressures on Iran’s economy has escalated now more than ever by imposing harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic, commercial exchanges between the two countries is gradually coming to a halt.
This is while trade between the two sides was witnessing an upward trend after the implementation of the landmark nuclear deal, Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture reported.
Figures from the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show non-oil trade between Iran and the US stood at 1,047 tons worth $4.73 million during the first Iranian month (March 21-April 20), registering a 57.55% and 44.72% decline in tonnage and value respectively compared with last year’s corresponding period.
The US was Iran's 45th trading partner during the period, according to Financial Tribune.
Iran’s exports to the US stood at only 3 tons worth $5,314 to register a 96.13% and 99.59% decline in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year. It mainly exported saffron to the US during the one-month period.
The US was Iran’s 91st export destination in the world, as it exported 1,044 tons of commodities worth $4.73 million to Iran, down by 56.3% in tonnage and 34.8% in value YOY.
The country was the 30th exporter of goods to Iran during the month. Imported goods from the US mainly included food products, vegetable seeds as well as medicine and pharmaceutical products.
The considerable fall in trade came after US President Donald Trump decided to pull out of the nuclear deal last year.
The landmark nuclear agreement was signed in 2015 between Iran and six world powers, namely the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany, under which Tehran agreed to limit the scope of its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. It was implemented a year later and led to the removal of years of international sanctions against Iran.
According to Reza Haji-Aqamiri, the head of TCCIM's Trade Facilitation and Export Promotion Commission, Iran’s exports to the US witnessed an uptrend after the implementation of the nuclear deal.
However, Trump announced in May last year the unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal. He then unleashed two waves of sanctions, one in August and another in November, described by Washington as "toughest ever" aimed at choking Iran's trade with world countries.
Haji-Aqamiri, also a member of TCCIM’s board of representatives, recalled Iran's burgeoning exports of handmade Persian carpets to the US, saying Iran used to export $80-100 million worth of carpets annually to the US after the implementation of the nuclear deal.
Figures from the United States Census show Iran recorded a $372.6 million trade deficit with the US in 2018, which is reportedly the highest over the past decade.
Out of the $508.4 million worth of traded commodities, $67.9 million pertained to Iran’s exports to the United States and $440.5 million to imports, showing an 8% and 224% increase respectively compared to the year before.
IRICA’s figures on the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2019) show Iran traded 71,109 tons of non-oil commodities worth $187.53 million with the US registering a 73.02% growth in tonnage and 37.84% decline in value compared with the year before.
Iran’s exports to the US stood at 1,503 tons worth $45.18 million, down 57.72% and 65.85% in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year. The US was Iran’s 41st export destination during the year.
Iran mainly exported floorings, carpets and rugs, saffron, pastry, sugar and food products to the US during the 12-month period.
The US exported 69,606 tons of goods worth $142.35 million to Iran, up 85.4% in tonnage and down 15.96% in value YOY. The US was the 27th exporter of goods to Iran over the year.
Imports mainly included pharmaceuticals, food products, wood pulp, soybean and medicinal products.