The coronavirus pandemic has decreased Iran’s exports to Turkey by 90 percent, the chairman of Iran-Turkey Joint Chamber of Commerce told ILNA on Tuesday.
Mehrdad Sa’adat said there is no reason for such drop rather than the coronavirus pandemic, adding that trade between the two countries has been fortunately increasing after reopening of the borders, and the traders are trying to compensate for the four-month drop in the bilateral trade.
“We are now witnessing some long lines of trucks at the border crossings waiting for entering Turkey”, he added.
Sa’adat had told IRNA on June 27 that Iran’s export to Turkey was continuing via the roads and railway.
He said, “The number of trucks waiting in Bazargan Border to enter Turkey indicates that Iran’s export to its neighbor is increasing, adding that Iran’s transit of commodities via Turkey has also risen noticeably after the reopening of this border.”
In early June, land borders between Iran and Turkey reopened after more than three months.
On the first day of border reopening, 150 Iranian trucks entered Turkey, according to the spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA).
Rouhollah Latifi said that the mentioned trucks entered Turkey via three land borders of Bazargan, Sero, and Razi.
Also, 35 Turkish trucks entered Iran as the borders reopened, Latifi announced.
The long-awaited measure came more than a week after Iranian and Turkish presidents discussed the reopening of air and land borders between the two countries now that the pandemic has slowed down.
Iran sees trade with Turkey as key in efforts to confront the U.S. sanctions that have sought to undermine Tehran’s oil exports. Petrochemical products account for a major share of Iran’s exports to Turkey although the U.S. bans have made it difficult to settle payments between businesses in the two countries.
Turkey also relies on Iran as a major market for its manufacturing goods, including industrial machinery and garment, while it also sends to Iran some sizable shipments of crops and fruits that are not cultivated in the country.
As announced by the IRICA spokesman, Iran and Turkey exchanged 6,300 wagons of commodities via railway during a 70-day period from the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20).
According to Latifi, Iran’s exports to Turkey via railway stood at 3,072 wagons of goods and its imports from the neighboring country reached 3,228 wagons during the mentioned period of time.
IRICA Head Mehdi Mir-Ashrafi held a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Riza Tuna Turagay, via video conference on May 5, to discuss reopening of trade borders with the implementation of health and safety protocols.
Readiness to exchange health protocols for reopening trade borders, importing goods from Sarisu trans-boundary market, implementation of the third phase of e-Tir electronic project in all customs offices of the two countries, online exchange of information and X-ray in shared borders were among the important topics of discussion in the said meeting.
Mir-Ashrafi urged Turagay to take all the necessary measures to ensure the reopening of the two countries’ borders since the Turkish borders with its other neighbors were open at the time.
In late February, Turkey closed its border with Iran as a preventative measure against the deadly coronavirus outbreak.