EghtesadOnline: A total of 967,503 tons of commodities worth $117.13 million were exported from Iran to Qatar during the current Iranian year’s first 10 months (March 21, 2021-Jan. 20), showing a 13% decline compared with the similar period of last year, according to the spokesperson of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
“Imports from Qatar during the same period amounted to 1,901 tons worth $7.23 million, registering a 5% decline year-on-year,” Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi is scheduled to travel to Doha on Monday to meet Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and attend a summit meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.
The two-day visit is at the official invitation of the Qatari Emir.
Days before Raisi’s upcoming visit, Latifi reviewed Tehran-Doha trade over the years.
The two countries traded a total of 16.75 million tons of goods worth $2.87 billion, with Iran’s exports standing at 15.76 million tons worth $2.27 billion in the last 28 years.
“In the fiscal 2017-18, Iran exported over 1.65 million tons of goods worth $242.5 million to its Arab neighbor, marking the highest annual export volume in the 28 years under review,” he said.
“This is while 74,411 tons worth $9.05 million were exported in the fiscal 1997-98, marking the lowest volume over the period."
The IRICA spokesman said the highest import volume was registered in the fiscal 2007-8 when 94,476 tons worth $57.11 million were shipped in from Qatar and the lowest volume was recorded in the fiscal 1995-96 with 1,520 tons worth $1.26 million.
Tehran-Doha Ties Growing Stronger
Iran and Qatar have been forging stronger economic ties ever since a number of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia abruptly severed diplomatic relations with Doha in June 2017 and imposed a blockade on the Persian Gulf country, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups.
The Qatari government has denied the allegation as baseless, blasting the blockade as unjustified and a violation of international law. Following the development, Iranian exporters have vied to enter the Qatari market in the absence of Doha's traditional Arab partners.
Qatar shares the world's largest natural gas field with Iran.
Qatar's Ambassador to Iran Ali bin Hamad al-Sulaiti thanked Tehran for its assistance to Doha one year after diplomatic and economic sanctions were imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran pioneered aid and humanitarian assistance to the Qatari government and tried to reduce the negative impacts of the siege on Qatari citizens. It opened its airspace to Qatari planes and rapidly sent foodstuff to make up for the abrupt cut in export of goods by the four countries. It also provided a passage for transferring goods by many countries to the Qatari government,” Sulaiti wrote in a memo.
Direct Flights Increase
Weeks after the United States imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran in 2018, Qatar Airways announced plans to expand operations in Iran.
Qatar Airways started direct flights between Doha and Isfahan on Feb. 4, 2019.
Qatar Airways is among top 10 airlines capable of connecting Isfahan airport to 160 global destinations. Isfahan's Shahid Beheshti Airport is the fourth Iranian airport hosting planes from the Qatari flagship airliner.
Qatar Airways' flights to Isfahan topped the airline's other Iranian destinations, namely Tehran, Shiraz and Mashhad.
“With its incredible, age-old architecture and bustling traditional bazaars, we are thrilled to announce Isfahan as Qatar Airways’ fourth-service gateway into Iran. Isfahan is a city that is not only steeped in history, but one that has also emerged in recent years to combine its rich cultural heritage with modernity, making it one of Iran’s most fascinating, colorful and lively places for international visitors. We are also delighted to announce that we are increasing our weekly services to both Shiraz and Tehran in January,” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker has been quoted as saying.
“These latest launches are further evidence of Qatar Airways’ commitment to Iran, as well as the expansion of our network in this thriving market to provide greater connectivity to both business and leisure passengers alike.”
The Seventh Iran-Qatar Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation was held in November 2020 in Isfahan where the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding to expand ties in a host of fields.