EghtesadOnline: Iran’s non-oil foreign trade during the 10 months of the current Iranian year (started March 20, 2016) stood at $70.25 billion, indicating a 5.8% increase compared with the corresponding period of last year.
According to the latest report by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Iran exported $35.27 billion worth of non-oil commodities during the period, registering an 8.37% rise year-on-year.
The country imported $34.98 billion worth of goods during the period, up 3.21% year-on-year.
The figures point to a $288 million surplus in Iran's international trade in the 10 months to January 19, 2017, according to Financial Tribune.
IRICA’s data put the weight of exports and imports at 102.04 million and 27.55 million tons respectively, registering a 33.76% and 2.87% growth respectively.
Gas condensates were Iran's main exported commodity ($6.02 billion), making up for 17.08% of the total non-oil export figure. They were followed by natural liquefied gases ($1.95 billion), light crude oil, excluding gasoline ($1.34 billion), petroleum gases and liquefied hydrocarbons ($1.06 billion) and liquefied propane ($990 million).
The imported commodities mainly included field corn ($1.16 billion), soybean ($774 million), auto parts ($666 million), motor vehicles with engine displacement of 1,500-2,000cc ($626 million), and motor vehicles with engine displacement of 2,000-2,500cc ($536 million).
China was the main customer of Iranian products in the 10-month period as Iran exported $6.54 billion worth of non-oil goods to the Asian country, 9.53% more compared with last year's similar period.
Other major export destinations included the UAE with $5.66 billion, Iraq with $5.39 billion, Turkey with $2.81 billion and South Korea with $2.56 billion worth of Iranian goods imported.
Major exporters to Iran included China ($8.4 billion), the UAE ($5.48 billion), South Korea ($2.78 billion), Turkey ($2.19 billion) and Germany ($1.96 billion). Imports from China, the UAE, South Korea and Turkey fell by 1.27%, 11.47%, 8.74% and 10.99% respectively.
However, imports from Germany experienced a 36.39% rise year-on-year.
> Rise in Customs Revenues
Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayyebnia said last week that the implementation of the "Integrated Customs System" has led to a 40% increase in IRICA's revenues in the current Iranian year over last year.
“It has also helped fight smuggling through the improvement of transparency and business environment,” he said.
In the past three years, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration has carried out major reforms to improve its services and cut red tape to increase its revenues. These changes have been collectively introduced as Integrated Customs System.
To this end, the IRICA has also replaced a number of customs documentations with electronic database to create a more efficient and modern customs environment.
Other changes include automatic authentication, automatic designation of customs officer based on rules and regulations, issuance of electronic green cards, smart weighing, issuance of electronic invoices from warehouses and online transit declaration.
> Thorn in the Side of Economy
Nevertheless, smuggling remains a thorn in the side of the Iranian economy. Around 8 trillion rials (close to $2.1 billion at market exchange rate) worth of contraband goods were confiscated during the nine months to December 20, the head of the Headquarters for Combating the Smuggling of Commodities and Foreign Exchange, Habibollah Haqiqi, said last week.
"The seized items mostly included household appliances, mobile phones and cigarettes," he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The government has intensifies efforts to counter smuggling.
According to authorities, over 15 billion worth of commodities are smuggled per annum—mostly into Iran. The figure stood at a whopping $25 billion in 2013 when President Hassan Rouhani took office.