European pharmaceutical exports to Iran fall sharply

Bourse and Bazaar | Data from Eurostat and the Swiss Federal Customs Administration show that European exports of pharmaceutical products to Iran have fallen considerably on a year-on-year basis. While some of Iran’s smaller trade partners have seen total export values rise, Iran’s top sources of European pharmaceutical products are seeing exports contract.

Looking to cumulative export totals from January to September—the most recent month for which data is available—exports among the 28 member states of the European Union are down 6 percent when compared to the same point last year. Among the 6 member states which exported in excess of EUR 30 million in pharmaceutical products to Iran in 2017, only Germany and the Netherlands have seen export volumes rise this year. Austria, Italy, France and Belgium have all seen exports fall substantially.

Switzerland is Iran’s second largest source of European pharmaceutical products after Germany. Swiss exports have fallen 43 percent year-on-year, from a cumulative total of CHF 147 million in September 2017 to just CHF 84 million in September of this year. These dismal figures may explain why the Swiss government has opened a dialogue with the Trump administration on establishing a dedicated channel for humanitarian trade.

Aside from their humanitarian importance, pharmaceutical products are a major component of bilateral trade between Europe and Iran, accounting for 7 percent of total exports from the European Union to Iran, and about 40 percent of Swiss exports to Iran, a reflection of Switzerland’s standing as a world-leader in the pharmaceutical sector. Overall, Iran imported nearly EUR 1 billion in pharmaceutical products from Europe last year.