09/10/2016, 14.31
IRAN – EUROPEAN UNION
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Trade between Iran and EU up by 43 per cent in first half of 2016

According to Eurostat data, trade volume between Iran and EU hit € 5.107 billion. EU exports to Iran grew by 13 per cent to € 3.565 billion with EU members Greece, France and Spain leading the way.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – Trade between Iran and the European Union rose 43 per cent in first six months of 2016, the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat reported. This follows the signing of the nuclear deal in July 2015 and its implementation in January.

EU demand for Iranian oil is one of the main factors in the growing trade.  

The European Union’s trade with Iran amounted to € 5.107 billion in the first half of 2016, up from € 3.563 billion in first six months of 2015.

According to Eurostat, in the first half of 2016, EU’s exports to Iran increased by 13 per cent reaching € 3.565 billion in the first half of this year, up from € 3.154 billion in the same period last year.

Data released in May already showed the positive trend. EU’s exports to Iran jumped to € 1.602 billion in the first quarter of this year, a 16 per cent rise from € 1.374 billion in the same period last year.

At the same time, EU’s imports from the Islamic Republic increased 52 per cent and stood at € 396 million, while the amount was € 260 million in the same period in 2015.

In mid-April, Iran and the EU issued a joint statement in Tehran setting the road map for cooperation. The statement was released by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini who visited Iran along with seven European commissioners.

The rising trade with the Islamic Republic benefitted especially some EU countries in the mentioned period, so that exports to Greece, France and Spain witnessed 108, 60 and 9 times increase, respectively.

The two sides taking stock of their long standing relations, based upon mutual respect and interests, reiterated their intention to develop a broad and comprehensive agenda for bilateral cooperation.

After years of embargo, Iran obtained a partial easing of Western economic sanctions, in exchange for agreement on its controversial atomic programme (for civilian use according to Tehran, to produce the bomb according to other countries, including Israel).

However, the US has kept a range of sanctions place because of Iran’s missile programme, as well as its military support for Shia movements in the Middle East.

Washington recently blocked the use of US dollars in banking transactions, stopping new economic agreements established after the nuclear deal.

This decision has also affected European policy, in particular in the banking sector, preventing the change of direction needed to boost Iran's domestic production and foreign trade, after years of harsh embargo.

This has helped Iranian fundamentalist hardliners undermine the reform programme of Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

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