Official figures show Iran’s imports from China saw a major rise over the past four years in what is seen as a result of the removal of sanctions against the country and the subsequent return of global shipping lines to its ports.
Figures reported by Iran’s state news agency IRNA show that imports from China since 2013 – when President Hassan Rouhani was elected to office – had already reached $43.7 billion.
Imports from 2009 to 2013 – when former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in office – stood at $26.2 billion.
Mohammad Saeidnejad, the managing director of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), was quoted by IRNA as saying that almost all exports to Iran were made through a mechanism known as “trans-ship” over the years that the country was under sanctions.
The mechanism, Saeidnejad said, envisaged delivering cargos at secondary ports in neighboring countries – mainly the UAE – before final shipments were done through small boats to Iran’s southern ports.
“Now that the sanctions have been lifted, most of the goods that Iran imports are shipped directly by 18 global freight forwarders which are now free to call at Iran’s ports,” he added.
This, the official emphasized, has already made China Iran’s primary import destination instead of the UAE.
IRNA’s report further wrote that the combination of goods imported from China included machinery, electronic devices, steel, iron, clothes, chemicals, household utensils and plastic items.
On a separate front, the report added that Iran’s non-oil exports to China – valued at a total of $32.4 billion – had also increased over the past four years. Exports over the second tenure of Ahmadinejad’s presidency (2009-2013) stood at $18.7 billion.
The main non-oil items exported during Rouhani’s term included iron ore, chrome, iron ore concentrate, sulphur and different kinds of stones.