Iranian deputy commerce minister said that the total volume of Iran’s trade exchanges with the Arab countries of the Middle-East amounted to $16 bln during the last (Iranian) year. Mehdi Ghazanfari said that Iran’s trade exchanges with the Persian Gulf littoral states – the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Yemen – last year amounted to 27% of the country’s total exchanges with the outside world.
“UAE was Iran’s first trade partner and Iraq was Iran’s third market in the last year – from March 21, 2006 to March 20, 2007,” he said.
According to the official, Iran exported $5.3 bln worth of non-oil commodities to the Persian Gulf states last year, while its import from the said Arab states reached $10.2 bln.
Ghazanfari, who is also the head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization, further expressed the hope that Iran’s trade exchange with Arab countries would further increase in future.
He also said that Iran’s trade exchanges with other Arab countries of the Middle-East – i.e. Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco – amounted to $656 mln during the aforementioned period.
“Despite high potentials and abundant investment opportunities, Iran’s trade exchanges with the Arab states of the Middle-East are still at a low level,” the Iranian deputy minister said, adding that Tehran is seeking to further penetrate the markets of goods and technical and engineering services in the said countries.