UK Iranian Trade News

Foreign Trade Figures for Iran 20th March to 20th July 2017

Iran foreign trade (import /export) for the first 4 months of the Iranian year increased 24% comparing with the same period last year according to Iran Customs statistics:

IMPORT $15.8 billion

China $ 3.4 billion
UAE$ 2.9 billion
South Korea $ 1.7 billion
India$ 891 million

EXPORT $ 13.5 billion

China$ 2.8 billion
Iraq$ 2.5 billion
UAE$ 2.3 billion
South Korea$ 1.4 billion
India$ 926 million

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

In June 2016, the FATF welcomed Iran’s high-level political commitment to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, and its decision to seek technical assistance in the implementation of the Action Plan. In light of Iran’s demonstration of its political commitment and the relevant steps it has taken in line with its Action Plan, the FATF has decided to continue the suspension of counter-measures. The FATF will keep monitoring progress in the implementation of the Action Plan and consider next steps.

Iran will remain on the FATF Public Statement until the full Action Plan has been completed. Until Iran implements the measures required to address the deficiencies identified in the Action Plan, the FATF will remain concerned with the terrorist financing risk emanating from Iran and the threat this poses to the international financial system. The FATF, therefore, calls on its members and urges all jurisdictions to continue to advise their financial institutions to apply enhanced due diligence to business relationships and transactions with natural and legal persons from Iran, consistent with FATF Recommendation 19. The FATF urges Iran to fully address its AML/CFT deficiencies, in particular those related to terrorist financing.

The FATF will continue to engage with Iran and closely monitor its progress

G7 Foreign Ministers' Statement on Iran and the JCPOA

The following is an excerpt from the recent Joint Communiqué of the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting in Lucca, Italy 10-11 April 2017:

"We support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) as an important contribution to the non-proliferation regime. Continued and full implementation of the JCPoA is essential to build confidence that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful in nature. We value the JCPoA's comprehensive structure and the commitment by all parties to its solid verification mechanism. We commend and continue supporting the IAEA in its crucial work in Iran, including monitoring and verification to help ensure compliance with Iran's JCPoA commitments and safeguard obligations, thus playing a key role in fostering mutual trust. We stress the need for all parties to entirely and consistently fulfil all their commitments under the JCPoA in good faith.

"We reaffirm the need for Iran to strictly abide by all its nuclear related commitments. UN Security Council Resolution 2231 needs to be fully implemented, including its provisions prohibiting the transfer of arms. We deeply regret Iran's testing of ballistic missiles; as such tests are inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

"We call upon Iran to play a constructive regional role by contributing to efforts to achieve political solutions, reconciliation and peace in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen and other parts of the region and to cooperate in countering the spread of terrorism and violent extremism. We also call on Iran to comply with its international human rights obligations and in particular to ensure freedom of expression and to end arbitrary detentions and executions."

Download PDF of Full 2017 G7 FMs Joint Communiqué

Foreign Trade Figures for Iran April 2017

According to Iran Customs official statistics published on 4th April 2017, Iran had a positive surplus in its foreign trade in 2016-2017

FIRST 5 EXPORTERS TO IRAN DURING 2016-2017

China $10.7 billion (growth comparing with year before)
UAE $ 6.4 billion (Reduction comparing with the year before)
South Korea $ 3,4 billion
Turkey $ 2.7 billion (Reduction comparing with the year before)
Germany $2.5 billion (High growth comparing with the year before)

FIRST 5 IMPORTERS OF IRANIAN GOODS(without Crude)

China $8.3 billion
UAE $7.4 billion
Iraq $6.1 billion
Turkey $3.2 billion
South Korea $2.8 billion

Trading with Iran - Are Your Goods Sanctioned?

Products and Services

Members who are uncertain as to whether their products and services may still be sanctioned even though most EU/UK sanctions have been lifted should make contact with the Export Control Organisation (ECO) of the Department of International Trade :

ECO Helpline 020 7215 4594 and eco.help@trade.gsi.gov.uk.

Compliance

For general queries about the remaining measures, obtaining licences, and compliance issues - Members should go to the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), which is part of HM Treasury.

For OFSI, the website is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-financial-sanctions-implementation

OFSI's email address is: OFSI@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk and their helpline is 020 7270 5454 (9-5 Mon-Fri).

General Background Information

Sanctions information about Iran is at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sanctions-on-iran and for information about export controls members can go to https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/export-control-organisation.

There is a 'Doing Business with Iran' guide at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/doing-business-with-iran.


Banking Matters

As at the end of October 2016, banking services for Iran trade transactions are not generally available in the UK. They are more so, but still limited in other EU countries and around the world. Some UK banks will undertake Iran business, others won’t and would rather close the customer’s account than do so. The banks that will, do so, confidentially, for their best long-term customers, usually transaction by transaction not on a treaty basis. This means that the banking system doesn’t generally provide Iran trade finance services.

Those banks that won’t provide banking services for trade with Iran also do what they can to inhibit the rest of the market from doing so, by implying that they would withdraw clearing or correspondent banking.

This leaves "unbanked" exporters for Iran to construct specific payment routes. These involve using the buyer suggested payment arrangements, if necessary, in combination with banks which will undertake banking services for Iran trade (usually the correspondents of Iranian banks, EIH and others) so that the UK exporter’s payments are unknown to their UK bank. This involves risk to the exporter, of course. This may be happening as UK exports increased by about 30% in the first 6 months of 2016 by comparison with the similar period for the year before. This payment procedure happened under sanctions for allowable exports.

Something similar happens in Germany, Italy and other EU countries. Germany has a large number of small regional banks, many of whom are willing to provide payment services for Iran. These smaller banks are not constrained by the ability of the big German banks to hold the market to their own management policies on Iran. The Iranian banks in London could provide a route through this, if they weren’t hamstrung by clearing and correspondent relationships in the UK.

The term of the market doesn’t go beyond 360 days at present, although Iran is beginning to call for longer term credit.


New OFAC Guidance on US dollar transactions and Due Diligence.

New OFAC guidance on dollar transactions is that, Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs), including the foreign incorporated subsidiaries of US financial institutions, may process US dollars payments or maintain US dollar denominated accounts involving Iran so long as they do not involve directly the US financial system or US persons FFIs could potentially comply with these requirements through the use of foreign reserves held outside the US or by keeping US dollar transactions ”on the books” without processing them through the US financial system. This sounds like a Euro-dollar which can only be used as an off-set for other US dollar transactions. It may not transit the US financial system, so for the vast majority trade transactions it won’t be useful.

It is now not necessarily sanctionable for a non-US person to engage in transaction with an entity that is not on the SDN List, but is minority owned, or controlled in whole or in part by an Iranian or Iranian related person on the SDN list. Apparently (source: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP) OFAC has also given informal Guidance that it is not necessarily sanctionable for non-US persons to engage in transactions with an entity that is 50% or more owned by an Iranian or related person on the SDN list.

This is a helpful clarification of OFAC guidance.


Bank Saderat.

Bank Saderat has been delisted since 22nd October 2016 as the result of an EU regulation in April 2016 which stipulated that sanctions would remain until that date.


Latest Iran Customs Statistics

According to Iran Customs published statistics from 20th March 2016 to 20th October 2016, Iran has:

  • EXPORTED NON OIL GOODS US$24.60 billion (5% more than last year in the same period)
  • IMPORTED US$24.00 billion (Similar to the last year same period)

The big changes is reduction importing from Asian countries and increase import from European countries. Although still the main exporter to Iran are China, UAE and Turkey.

Import from following countries have reduced

  • China 5.5% reduction
  • UAE 13 % reduction
  • South Korea 14% reduction
  • Turkey 13% reduction

In the same time import from Germany increased by 25% and from Europe by 17%