China is largest exporter to Iran after sanctions lifted | Payvand News of Iran


Respected Member
Senior Member
Sep 25, 2009
Surprisingly, it turns out that past records of the UAE being Iran's largest trade partner were incorrect. The UAE was a mere transhipment point for Chinese goods that were ultimately destined for Iran.

Iran had been under economic sanctions by the United States. To conform to US sanctions, Chinese companies exported goods to the UAE. After arriving at the UAE, the goods were delivered to Iran via small boats.

Since US sanctions against Iran have been lifted, Chinese goods are arriving directly at Iranian ports on large cargo ships.

The story makes sense. The UAE is mainly an exporter of oil. Iran has plenty of oil and would not import UAE oil. Thus, the UAE was a transhipment point for Chinese goods and this artificially inflated the official statistics of UAE exports to Iran.

The real exporter to Iran had always been China. In the future, we should analyze "official" trade figures and see whether they make sense.

China, Iran's biggest exporter after sanctions lifted | Payvand News of Iran

"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."


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