EghtesadOnline: A total of $31 million worth of non-oil commodities were exported from Iran to Kuwait during the first quarter of the current fiscal year (March 20-June 20), to register a 40% decline compared with the corresponding period of last year.
According to Director General of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran's Arab-African Affairs Office Farzad Piltan, the decline in exports is due to the lack of direct contacts between Iranian and Kuwaiti business leaders, as well as obstacles to visa issuance for small-scale exchanges, IRNA reported.
Iran’s exports to Kuwait in the last fiscal year (ended March 19) stood at $180 million, indicating a 26.87% drop compared with the year before (March 2018-19).
Minerals and construction materials, including cement, ceramic, glass, stones, concrete products and plaster, constituted the lion’s share of Iran’s exports to Kuwait.
The outbreak of coronavirus has also worsened the situation, as Kuwait stopped the entry of Iranian vessels in Kuwaiti ports.
According to Director General of Khorramshahr Ports and Maritime Organization Nourollah Asadi, Iran partially resumed exports to Kuwait in mid-June after a three-month hiatus since the virus emerged.
Noting that Iranian commodities and food products have a significant share of the Kuwaiti market, he said Tehran has assured Kuwaiti officials that all shipments to Kuwait will comply with health standards.
A new shipping route was launched between the Iranian port of Genaveh and Kuwait in late June to facilitate maritime exchanges between the two countries.
According to Davoud Bahadori, the head of Genaveh Ports and Maritime Department, the first vessel setting sail on the route carried a 160-ton consignment of food products, fresh fruits and vegetables, loaded in eight refrigerated containers.
"Once the coronavirus restrictions are removed in Kuwait, Genaveh Port will turn into a major export gateway to the Arab neighbor," Bahadori added.
Trade with Persian Gulf states accounted for about a quarter of Iran's total foreign commercial exchanges in the last Iranian year.
Iran’s non-oil commercial exchanges with Persian Gulf Arab neighbors, including Iraq, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, hit $21.5 billion during the period.