London, April 23, IRNA - Trade between Iran and the European Union reached a record Euro 16.7 billion ($20 bn) last year, according to figures obtained exclusively by IRNA from Eurostat.
EU exports to Iran rose to Euro 9.8 bn from Euro 8 bn in 2002, while imports from the Islamic Republic grew by 23 per cent to Euro 6.9 bn. The increase in Iranian exports was due to a rise of Euro 1.3 bn in oil sales.
Iran's total trade with the world's largest trading group has more than doubled since 1998, during which time the EU has reversed the previous surplus in Iran's favor.
The latest figures show a consolidation in Iran's position as the EU's third largest trading partner in the Middle East, closing the gap behind Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The increase in exports to Iran was led by Germany, whose sales grew from Euro 2.2 bn to Euro 2.7 bn last year. French exports rose by Euro 500 million to Euro 2.1 bn and sales from Italy increased from Euro 1.8 bn to Euro 2 bn.
The three main trading partners totaled nearly 70 per cent of the EU exports to Iran, increasing their lead over the UK, whose sales grew by a modest Euro 50 m to Euro 685 m.
For the second successive year, one of the best performances was by Sweden, whose exports to Iran have more than doubled to Euro 564 m since 2001, overtaking Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria in the process.
During 2003, Sweden also recorded a 60 per cent increase in purchasing Euro 590 m worth of goods, virtually all oil, from Iran. There was also a rise from Euro 487 m to Euro 861 m in Iranian exports to Greece, again virtually all oil.
The increase in Iranian oil exports conceals a decline in non-oil sales from Euro 899 m in 2002 to Euro 846 m last year, mainly due to slight falls in the biggest markets of Germany to Euro 267 m and Italy to 187 m.
The only noticeable rise in Iran's non-oil exports during 2003 was to Spain up from Euro 151 m to Euro 168 m, while non-oil sales to such countries as Greece, Denmark, Portugal, Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland, Ireland and Austria are under Euro 11 m each.
... Payvand News - 4/23/04 ... --