EghtesadOnline: Iran traded 30.78 million tons of non-oil commodities worth $15.15 billion with the member states of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, namely China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, during the first seven months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Oct. 21).
China accounted for the largest portion of total trade between Iran and SCO states, with 17 million tons worth $9.54 billion of exchanges.
According to Rouhollah Lotfi, the spokesman of Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, Iran’s exports to these countries totaled 23.83 million tons worth $8.04 billion during the seven months under review.
More than half of the sum, $4.4 billion, were shipped to China, Iran's largest trade partner.
Tajikistan’s imports from Iran was the lowest among SCO countries with $9.9 million.
Iran’s imports from SCO states stood at 5.52 million tons worth $7.11 billion during the period.
Again China topped the list with $5.14 billion worth of exports to Iran.
Iran imported $4.11 million worth of goods from Belarus during the seven-month period, lower than other SCO countries.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a Eurasian political, economic and security alliance, the formation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai, China, by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Since then, the organization has expanded its membership to eight countries, after India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members on 9 June 2017 at the summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Heads of State Council is the supreme decision-making body in SCO, which convenes once a year and as adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organization.
The 20th meeting of SCO’s council kicked off under the chairmanship of Russia on Tuesday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in attendance.
Leaders of Russia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and four observers, including Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia, as well as international bodies, participated in a videoconference, ISNA reported.
Iran’s non-oil foreign trade stood at 84.8 million tons worth $38.27 billion during the seven months.
Trade volume in the corresponding period of last fiscal year (March 21-Oct. 22, 2019) stood at $49.57 billion, indicating that commercial exchanges have declined by about 23% on a year-on-year basis.
According to Mehdi Mirashrafi, the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, exports accounted for 65.57 million tons worth $18.23 billion and imports constituted 19.33 million tons worth $20.04 billion of the total sum.
In other words, Iran recorded a trade deficit worth $1.81 billion during the period under review.
“Compared with the corresponding period of last year, exports registered a 17.5% and 23% decline in tonnage and value respectively,” Mirashrafi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Previous data provided by IRICA showed Iran's imports during last year's corresponding period stood at 19.8 million tons worth $25.17 billion. This shows imports saw a slight increase in tonnage, but a 20% decline compared with last year's corresponding period.
Notably, Iraq overtook China as Iran's main export destination with $4.8 billion worth of imports from Iran during the period under review.
Noting that imports of essential goods accounted for 13.8 million tons of the total imports, Mirashrafi said, “Corn was one of the main imported goods, reaching 5.8 million tons compared with 5.1 million tons of last year’s corresponding period.
Also known as necessity goods, essential goods are products consumers will buy, regardless of changes in income levels.
Amid high inflation and diminished purchasing power, the Iranian government has sought to ensure a steady supply of essential goods at subsidized prices.
A total of 25.09 million tons of essential goods worth close to $15.5 billion were imported during the last fiscal year (March 2019-20) to register a 20.77% and 17.13% increase in weight and value respectively compared with the year before.