Iran's Trade with Major Powers Grows, Despite Sanctions
by SEMIRA N. NIKOU
13 Dec 2010 16:15
Iran exports to U.S. up 6 percent, imports down 26 in first half of 2010. Exports to Britain triple.
[ business ] Trade between Iran and the world's six major powers increased well into 2010, despite international sanctions and tough financial restrictions, according to International Monetary Fund figures and individual foreign ministries. Countries now negotiating with Iran include the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China. The biggest increases were in goods imported from Iran. Five of the six powers now negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program imported more from Iran than they exported.
U.S. imports from Iran increased by around six percent in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009 while American exports to Iran -- mainly foodstuffs, medical goods, and education materials exempted from sanctions -- decreased by 26 percent. Britain had the largest percentage increase in imports from Iran during the same period, up 203 percent. Germany had the second largest percentage increase in imports, up 97 percent.
European trade with Iran increased partly because companies were wrapping up contracts before new European Union sanctions in July, said German analyst Walter Posch. Trade data from the IMF and foreign ministries can differ for diverse reasons. The IMF sometimes looks at different or a broader range of sources. Other factors affecting data:
* Imports and exports recorded by one source but not by others
* Tax evasion and smuggling
* Exchange rate differentials, particularly when rates are volatile
* Classification differences of goods
The figures below, in millions of U.S. dollars, have been rounded off.
Semira N. Nikou works for the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the U.S. Institute of Peace. This article is presented by Tehran Bureau, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars as part of the Iran project at iranprimer.usip.org.