EghtesadOnline: Iran and members of Economic Cooperation Organization traded 10.91 million tons of non-oil commodities worth $5.72 billion during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Nov. 20), according to the spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show.
“Latest data released by IRICA show that Iran exported 7.43 million tons of goods worth $2.94 billion to ECO member states during the period,” Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that Iran’s main exports included liquefied petroleum gas, oil derivatives, fish and shrimps, tomato paste, vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, flowers and ornamental plants, saffron and nuts.
“With Iranian exports worth $1.21 billion, Afghanistan was our biggest destination from among the ECO members, followed by Turkey and Azerbaijan,” he said.
Imports stood at 3.48 million tons worth $2.81 billion, with Turkey topping the list of ECO member countries with the highest value of exports to Iran.
The imports consisted of fiber, cotton, barley, flaxseeds, lentils, beans, medical equipment, industrial raw materials, different types of acid and industrial and agricultural machinery and equipment.
Iran’s trade with ECO member states during the eight months shows a $128.3 million surplus.
ECO states accounted for 11.16% and 12.82% of the weight and value of Iran's total foreign trade over the eight months.
ECO has nine other member states apart from Iran, namely Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The Economic Cooperation Organization is a Eurasian political and economic intergovernmental organization founded in 1984 in Tehran by the leaders of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. It provides a platform to discuss ways of improving development and promoting trade and investment opportunities.
An ad hoc organization under the United Nations Charter, ECO aims to establish a single market for goods and services.
ECO's secretariat and cultural department are located in Iran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau is in Pakistan. Consisting of predominantly Muslim-majority states, it is a trade bloc for Central Asian states connected to the Mediterranean region through Turkey, to the Persian Gulf via Iran and to the Arabian Sea via Pakistan.
Iran’s non-oil foreign trade hit 97.7 million tons worth $44.6 billion in eight months leading to Nov. 20.
According to Mehdi Mirashrafi, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, exports accounted for 75 million tons worth $21.5 billion and imports constituted 21.8 million tons worth $23.1 billion.
“Compared with the corresponding period of last year (March 21-Nov. 21, 2019), exports registered a 14% and 19% decline in weight and value respectively. Imports saw a respective 1% and 18% decrease in weight and value year-on-year,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Imports of essential goods accounted for 15.2 million tons (about 70%) of the total imports.
“Main export destinations over the period included Iraq and China with $5.3 billion each, the UAE with $2.7 billion, Turkey with $1.6 billion and Afghanistan with $1.5 billion,” he said.
Noting that pistachio was Iran’s fourth biggest export during the period, Mirashrafi added that each kilogram of pistachio was exported at $6, compared with the average 30 cent per kilogram of Iran’s exports.
“Top exporters to Iran were China with $6 billion, the UAE with $5.4 billion, Turkey with $2.6 billion, India with $1.4 billion and Germany with $1.1 billion,” he said.
“A total of 4.47 million tons of cargo were transited across the country over the period, indicating a 15% decline YOY.”
Notably, Iraq stood above China by a narrow margin when it comes to exports from Iran. The neighboring country began to overtake China as Iran’s biggest destination since last fiscal month.