The export of non-oil goods particularly bitumen, food and agricultural products from Iran to Qatar has surged by 117.5 percent from March 22 to October 22, 2017.
According to recent figures released by Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) indicate that Iran exported $139m worth of non-oil goods to Qatar during the seven months from March 22 to October 22, registering a remarkable 117.5% increase compared with the same period last year.
Iran’s newspaper Financial Tribune has reported that bitumen, food and agricultural products accounted for the largest portion of the exports. “Bitumen exports amounted to $28m, significantly higher than the export value of other commodities shipped from Iran to Qatar during the period.”
Other than bitumen, tomato ($6.61m), milk and cream ($4.1m), cucumber ($3.9m) and watermelon ($3.8m) have been among Iran’s top exports to Qatar after the imposition of blockade in June this year.
“Iran’s main exports to Qatar in the last fiscal year (March 2016-17) including cement, pistachio and saffron, have registered slight growth this year though their share from total exports is not considerable anymore,” Financial Tribune reports.
IRICA data indicates steady growth in the value of Iran’s non-oil exports to Qatar during the first four months after the blockade. “Notably, the exports saw a significant growth during the month ending in October 22. Iran exported about $50m of non-oil products to Qatar during the one-month period, which shows a five-fold upsurge year over year.”
The increase in exports is also due to smooth transportation channels, shipping lines, opened between two countries after the siege. Torang Darya Shipping Line, the biggest private shipping company in Iran, intends to expand its business in Qatar. The company expects trade between Qatar and Iran to increase in coming days, which will lead to an increase in its frequency from Qatar.
“Before the siege, we did not have any desire (to expand) because Qatar was importing most of its requirement from some of its neighbouring countries. But right now, we have the desire and the plan for import and export from Qatar. We want to extend our business in Qatar,” Amir Khani from TDS Line, who was in Qatar to participate in an industry exhibition, told The Peninsula few days ago.
In September, the land route from Turkey to Port of Bushehr in Iran and then by sea to Ruwais port in Qatar was also opened for transport of goods. The land trade route through Turkey, Iran and Qatar has significantly reduced the cost of transportation of goods. Financial Tribune further reports that Valfajr Shipping Company, Rah Abrisham Marine Shipping Agency, and Pasargad Shipping Lines are among firms that have started services to Qatar.
Meanwhile, while talking to The Peninsula last month, Shirin Asal Food Industrial Group, Iran’s biggest confectionery company, which is also one of the biggest in the Middle East, has recently announced plan to enter Qatar’s retail market. “We have already done a market study in Qatar and fortunately there is demand for Iranian products. People in Qatar are willing to buy products which are produced in Iran,” said Hossein Mahfouzi, Middle East export executive of Shirin Asal.
The Peninsula Qatar