EghtesadOnline: A total of 11 million tons of essential goods have been imported via Iranian ports in the first five months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Aug. 22), an official with Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran said.
“The volume of imports indicates a 67% rise compared with last year's corresponding period,” Ravanbakhsh Behzadian was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
Ever since last year’s imposition of anti-Iran sanctions claimed by US President Donald Trump as "toughest ever", the Iranian government has focused efforts on importing essential goods, mainly food products and pharmaceuticals. On the other hand, imports of what the government deems non-essential goods, mainly those with domestic counterparts, have been restricted or banned.
The sanctions were imposed after Trump decided to unilaterally walk out of the nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers, including the United States. The deal, formally known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed in 2015 and implemented a year later. It saw years of international sanctions lifted against Iran. In exchange, the country agreed to limit the scope of its nuclear program, according to Financial Tribune.
The US sanctions have targeted Iran's trade by obstructing its commercial exchanges with world powers.
Behzadian noted that Imam Khomeini Port has been at the forefront of essential goods imports.
“Close to seven million tons of essential goods, including barley, corn, oilseeds, sugar and vegetable oil, were unloaded at the port located in the southern Khuzestan Province during the same five-month period under review, indicating a 64% increase year-on-year,” he added.
Latest statistics released on Iran's foreign trade show 11.82 million tons of goods worth $14.31 billion were imported into Iran during the first four months of the current Iranian year (March 21-July 22), indicating a rise of 0.85% in weight but a decline of 6.61% in value compared with the similar period of last year.
The data were recently released by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade as the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, the official body in charge of releasing data on Iran's foreign trade, has stopped publishing its monthly reports for the past few months.
"IRICA ceases to release data as soon as there's a decline in trade," Secretary-General of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Hamid Hosseini said.
IRICA's last fiscal year (March 2018-19) trade data show imports amounted to 32.04 million tons worth $42.61 billion, down 17.5% in weight. Imports saw a decline of 22% in value YOY.
Major exporters to Iran last year were China, the UAE, Turkey, India and Germany.
The yearlong imports from China dropped more than 28.5% in weight and 22% in value year-on-year.
Imports from the UAE decreased 45% in weight and 35% in value.
Turkey’s exports to Iran fell 25% in tonnage and 19% in value.
Last year, imports from India grew close to 15% in value and 12% in weight compared with the year before.
Germany’s exports to Iran fell 35.5% in weight and more than 20% in value.
The average price of each ton of imported commodities hovered around $1,330, down 5% compared with last year’s same period.
“Last year’s decline in imports is mostly due to restrictions imposed on the import of consumer goods,” IRICA’s top official said, adding that intermediate and capital goods accounted for 85% of imports last year.
Iran’s imports over the 12-month period mainly included field corn ($2.09 billion accounting for 5% of total imports), rice worth $1.6 billion (4% of total imports), auto parts, except tires, worth $1.38 billion (3% of total imports), soybeans worth $1.16 billion (3% of imports) and oilcake worth more than $651 million, or more than 1.5% of imports.