TEHRAN –Iran has prepared a comprehensive plan to increase its trade with the United Arab Emirates significantly, the deputy director of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran stated.
“The comprehensive plan will raise the trade between the two countries significantly,” the Mehr news agency quoted TOPI official Aboutaleb Badri as saying on Monday.
The Persian Gulf states have announced interest in improving economic ties with Iran, he said, adding that Qatar and Oman are also keen to give a boost to their trades with Iran.
For the better part of the past two decades, the United Arab Emirates — more specifically, Dubai — has been among Iran’s top trading partners. In fact, Dubai became the natural trading platform for international exports to Iran that would be re-exported through the emirate.
The UAE was the 2nd biggest trading partner of Iran in the previous Iranian calendar year, which ended on March 20, 2014, according to the Iran Customs Administration.
Iran exported $3.62 billion worth of non-oil goods to the UAE and imported $11.85 billion worth of non-oil goods from the Persian Gulf state.
On June 1, a trade delegation consisting of the ministers of agriculture and infrastructure, the heads of the chambers of commerce of the seven Emirates in the UAE and their accompanying business representatives visited Iran.
This was the first high-level UAE trade delegation to Tehran after an eight-year absence. The UAE business delegates represented five sectors: oil and gas, banking, food industry, automotive traders and investment companies. The trip coincided with the official visit to Iran by the emir of Kuwait as well as the presence of a Qatari delegation in the southern port of Bushehr, all signs of improvement in the relations between Tehran and Iran’s southern neighbors.
In 2010, the value of trade between Iran and the UAE stood at $20 billion, rising to $23 billion in 2011 and then dropping to $17 billion in 2012 and $15 billion in 2013.
In the past few years, the trade between these two neighboring countries declined as a consequence of external sanctions, especially U.S. pressure on Emirati companies and banks not to engage in trade with Iran. As a consequence, Dubai gradually lost its competitive advantage as a re-exporting hub for Iranian businesses.
By Tehran Times
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