EghtesadOnline: Iran and the UAE are scheduled to hold a joint forum titled “Business and Investment Opportunities” on Feb. 8.
An Iranian delegation of businesses active in trade and marketing is to visit the Arab country that will host the event from Feb. 6-9.
The Iranian mission will be headed by Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Reza Fatemi-Amin, who will be accompanied by President of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Gholamhossein Shafei and the head of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Alireza Peymanpak.
Those interested may register to attend the event through the website of Iran’s Trade Center in the UAE, Tehran Office, at www.BizLeadersHun.com, or contact +982188175232 and +982188175053.
Iranian Trade Center in Dubai
Iran’s first trade center licensed by Trade Promotion Organization of Iran was recently inaugurated in Dubai, the UAE.
As Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture reported, the center is aimed at helping Iranian companies find a foothold in the UAE, Dubai in particular which happens to be one of the main hubs of Iran’s trade in the region.
It also seeks to use advanced information technology to create a platform that facilitates business activities of Iranian firms in the Emirati market by providing technical advice and consultation services.
The inauguration came after a senior Emirati official recently said the UAE would soon send a delegation to Iran as part of efforts to improve ties with Tehran.
"I hope that it is the sooner, the better and all our friends are aware of it," Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, told reporters when asked when a UAE delegation would hold talks in Tehran.
The idea was to "turn over a new page" in relations, he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has voiced the administration’s determination to broaden relations with neighbors, including the UAE, calling for constant consultations between Tehran and Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s top national security adviser, paid a visit to Iran earlier last month for high-level talks that are seen as a possible sign of thawing relations between the two countries.
He expressed Abu Dhabi’s readiness to expand cooperation with Iran, hoping that a visit by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi would usher in a new chapter in the two countries’ relations.
“We are the children of this region and share the same fate, so expansion of bilateral relations is on our agenda,” Sheikh Tahnoon said in a meeting with Raisi in Tehran, President.ir reported.
He also extended the Emirati president’s official invitation to Raisi to visit the Persian Gulf Arab country.
The Emirati senior advisor also met his Iranian counterpart, Ali Shamkhani, and held detailed negotiations which he said would be a turning point in bilateral relations, which will help improve regional security.
“Iran as a great and strong country in the region, enjoys a unique geopolitical position as it is the gateway between the east and the west,” he said.
According to Sheikh Tahnoon, developing brotherly relations between Abu Dhabi and Tehran is a priority of the UAE.
“It is essential to establish expert working groups to work out areas for joint cooperation in various economic sectors and identify impediments to remove them,” he said.
Shamkhani also expressed hope that the Emirati official’s visit would be the beginning of a new era of mutual relations and pave the way for the expansion of ties in all sectors.
Iran and the UAE have had business ties stretching back over a century, but they have been on different sides on certain issues, including the war in Yemen.
Sheikh Tahnoon’s visit comes amid Abu Dhabi’s efforts to deescalate tensions with Iran as part of a policy choice toward diplomacy and away from confrontation.
UAE Leading Exporter to Iran
Latest data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show the UAE tops the list of exporters to Iran.
According to IRICA caretaker, Alireza Moqaddesi, the UAE exported 8.9 million tons of goods worth $11.5 billion to Iran during the current Iranian year’s first nine months (March 21-Dec. 21, 2021).
Iran’s total imports hit 30.1 million tons worth $37 billion during the period, registering a 20% and 37% year-on-year growth in weight and value respectively, IRNA reported.
The UAE was followed by China with 2.5 million tons worth $8.4 billion, Turkey with 2.9 tons worth $3.7 billion, Germany with 593,000 tons worth $1.4 billion and Switzerland with 1.6 million tons worth $1.3 billion, Moqaddesi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The Arab country was also among Iran’s top export destinations during the period.
China was Iran's biggest export destination with 21.3 million tons of imports worth $10.2 billion, followed by Iraq with 23.5 million tons worth $6.8 billion, Turkey with 11.7 million tons worth $4.1 billion, the UAE with 8.3 million tons worth $3.4 billion and Afghanistan with 3.3 million tons worth $1.4 billion.
Iran’s total trade (excluding crude oil exports) stood at 122.5 million tons worth $72.1 billion during the three-quarter period, registering an 11% and 38% year-on-year growth in weight and value respectively.
Exports hit 92.3 million tons worth $35.1 billion to register an 8% and 40% increase in weight and value respectively compared with last year’s corresponding period.
Petrochemicals had the lion’s share of exported items with 42.4 million tons worth $14.7 billion in the period, accounting for 46% of total exports’ weight and 42% of value.
Imports hit 30.1 million tons worth $37 billion during the period, registering a 20% and 37% growth in weight and value YOY respectively.
Target to Double Trade
Iran-UAE trade is about $15 billion per annum and both countries are looking to increase their commercial transactions to double the figure to $30 billion by the fiscal 2025-26, says Farshid Farzanegan, the head of Iran-UAE Chamber of Commerce.
Iran’s export of agricultural and food products to the UAE saw the least impact from sanctions and the spread of the coronavirus, he told IRNA.
According to Farzanegan, among the barriers to expansion of Iran-UAE trade are the Central Bank of UAE’s strict policy regarding Iranians’ banking accounts, inefficiency of Iran’s road transport, particularly that of refrigerated containers, and lack of infrastructures for cold storage of agricultural products.
“Countless trade rules and regulations are constantly shifting. Iran-UAE trade would improve, if the introduction of laws had stabilized,” he said.
Farzanegan noted that facilitating visits by economic operatives, improving banking ties, holding permanent exhibitions, employing active economic diplomacy regarding the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which has the import capacity of up to $135 billion, will help improve business.
“Iranian products find their way into Saudi Arabia through the UAE and Oman,” he said.
“The launch of an economic department and an industry and trade department in Iran’s Embassy in the UAE, as well as tourism promotion, would be helpful. We at the Iran-UAE Chamber of Commerce are all set to transfer our data and information to these departments. Afghanistan is now exporting Iranian handicrafts and saffron to the UAE.”
Noting that Iran needs to approve laws related to the standards of the Financial Action Task Force, Farzanegan said, “Iran’s blacklisting by the global watchdog has interrupted trade with the UAE.”