EghtesadOnline: Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture has revived the Iran-South Africa Commerce Committee upon the requests of Iranian traders.
The committee was dissolved after trade with South Africa became more difficult and the market became uncompetitive for Iranian traders, ICCIMA reported on its website.
During the committee’s first meeting held after the revival on Wednesday, Mohammad Reza Karbasi, the deputy head of ICCIMA for international affairs, said the two countries enjoy good political relations and the committee is expected to promote bilateral economic relations. In his words, there are good capacities for joint investments in the two countries.
He believes the two countries can expand collaboration by focusing on areas, such as petrochemicals, bitumen, food and oil products, auto parts manufacturing, power generation, construction and technical and engineering services, according to Financial Tribune.
Referring to South Africa’s attraction of $135 billion in foreign investment in 2018, Karbasi said South Africa can also facilitate Iran’s access to other African nations.
According to the offiial, the best solution to solve banking problems between the two countries is by using a barter system.
Speaking during the meeting, the Iranian Industries Ministry’s representative at the committee, Mehrdad Siadatnasab, said Iran’s commercial exchanges with South Africa witnessed an increase of 59.26% to $43 million during the first half of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sept. 22).
South Africa was Iran’s third major trading partner among the member states of African states during the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2019).
Mutual trade between Iran and South Africa amounted to 123,807 tons worth $71.56 million, indicating a 58.2% increase in tonnage and 0.24% decrease in value YOY.
Iran’s exports reached 118,716 tons worth $35.92 million, up 65.94% in tonnage and down 4.17% in value YOY, while South Africa’s exports to Iran were at 5,091 tons worth $35.64 million, down by 24.2% in tonnage and up 4.07% in value YOY.
South Africa was Iran’s fourth export destination as well as the top exporter of goods to Iran among African states. The country was Iran’s 44th export destination and 51st exporter to Iran in the world.
Chemicals, urea, floorings and bitumen were Iran’s main goods exported to South Africa, while it imported chemicals, sesame seeds and steel products in return.
Reviewing a 10-year period to March 20, 2019, Director General of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran's Arab-African Office Masoud Kamali Ardakani said Iran exported $420 million worth of non-oil goods to South Africa during the period, making it the fourth biggest African country after Egypt with $2.6 billion, Sudan with $558 million and Kenya with $532 million.
South Africa was the biggest exporter to Iran during the period under review with $418 million.
Egypt with $278 million, Tunisia with $150 million, Swaziland with $146 million, Ghana with $115 million, Zambia with $83 million, Seychelles with $74 million, Kenya with $72 million, Ethiopia with $64 million, Morocco with $61 million, Tanzania with $41 million and Sudan with $40 million followed.
According to Ardakani, despite efforts to promote Iran’s trade with Africa, economic cooperation between Iran and African nations are far less than their capacities due to a lack of direct sea and air transportation infrastructures, high marketing and transportation costs, lack of banking relations and lack of information on mutual demands and capabilities.