Trade with Afghanistan in limbo as exporters seek alternative markets


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TEHRAN – Following the recent turmoil in Afghanistan, Iranian exports to the country have declined significantly and Iranian exporters are expected to seek alternative markets to replace the neighboring country, the chairman of the Iran-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce said on Sunday.

According to Hossein Salimi, the country which was the top export destination for Iranian non-oil commodities has recently fallen to second place, reported the portal of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture of Tehran (TCCIMA).

Afghanistan accounted for 11 percent of Iran’s total non-oil exports in the first quarter of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-June 21), during which the country imported 296,000 tonnes of Iranian agricultural and food products worth 134 million dollars, mentioned.

Tomatoes, apples, potatoes, candies and fruit juice concentrates were the main products exported to the neighboring country, according to Salimi.

He noted that the deployment of Taliban militants to provinces and towns adjacent to the Iranian border has left Iranian exporters uncertain about sending goods to the country.

Salimi had previously said Iran’s exports to Afghanistan fell by more than 85% due to mounting tensions in the country.

“With the escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan, the number of trucks transporting Iranian goods to this country has dropped from 100 trucks a day to two or three trucks a day,” he said on August 6.

According to Salimi, Iranian exports to Afghanistan in the past two weeks were only 15% of the figure for the same period of the previous year.

“When unrest or conflict arises in a country, the first area that will suffer is the economy and commerce of that country,” he said, adding: “Unfortunately, the situation is so bad that it is it’s not easy at the moment to predict what lies ahead. . We still do not have a precise estimate of the amount of damage inflicted on Iranian traders. We have to see how long this situation will last.

In response to the question that if the Taliban finally take control and peace is restored, economic relations between Iran and Afghanistan will continue in the same way or not? Salimi said: “Either way, the needs of this country will not be eliminated. Any group that takes power in Afghanistan, the country will always need food and building materials etc. [for meeting those needs] would be Iran.

Highlighting the likely decline in trade of the two countries in the event of an ongoing conflict, Salimi said: “If this situation persists for another month, we will not reach 50% of our normal export volume to Afghanistan this year. “

According to the official, Iran has targeted $ 2.7 billion in exports to Afghanistan during the current Iranian calendar year (which began on March 21), but given the current situation, it will not be not possible to achieve this goal.

EF / MA

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