EghtesadOnline: Parliament on Monday passed a law that criminalizes export companies that fail to return their overseas income to the country.
The new legislation is an amendment to Combating Goods and Foreign Currency Smuggling Law, according to the parliamentary news agency ICANA.
As per the new law, if the pending repatriation commitment is below 100 billion rials (calculated based on the highest foreign exchange rate announced by the Central Bank of Iran) the defaulter would not only be forced to pay but also will face additional penalties, namely trade ban for six months to one year.
If the unreturned income is equivalent to or above 100 billion rials, the defaulter is obliged to return the income and face additional penalties including “restriction on trade from one to ten years, imprisonment and pecuniary punishment”.
If defaulting exporters present forged documents to prove repatriation or over-declares the value of exported goods to customs officials, they could have their commercial cards annulled apart from the above penalties.
As per export income repatriation rules announced by the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran in April, exporters can use part of their earnings to import goods, raw material and machinery either for their own needs or for a third party under “currency barter between exporters and importers”.
In addition, they are obliged to sell a portion of their earnings in foreign exchange hawala and via the secondary foreign exchange market, known as Nima. They also can sell currency earnings to authorized exchange shops.
Nima is an online platform affiliated to the CBI where exporters sell their overseas currency income and companies buy for import.
New rules announced by the TPO exempt a limited number of companies from selling their income at Nima. Major petrochemical, metal and similar commodity companies are excluded from the exemption.
TPO earlier said that 363 export companies account for the majority of unreturned overseas export income. They have not returned €11.1 billion accounting for about 65% of the total export income not repatriated.