Friday, September 28, 2012
In 2007 the country sold US$319 million in goods. In 2011, it was US$1.068 billion.
Politics are on one side. And business is on the other. So explains the trade relationship between Argentina and Iran in recent years. Exports to that destination grew as never before in the period of greater tension between Buenos Aires and Teheran. Exports to Iran increased 234% since Cristina Kirchner assumed office in 2007. If the comparison was established starting in 2005, the increase reaches 1,000%.
What was the evolution of bilateral trade in the last decade? In 2002, the country exported US$339 million in products and bought nothing. IN 2011 it sold US$1.068 billion and bought US$17 million. Argentina registered a bilateral trade balance significantly favoring it in every year of the last decade.
But there was a period where diplomatic tension between the two countries was reflected in the trade numbers. In 2003, the bilateral trade balance fell US$47 million. In 2005, Argentina exported no products directly. In 2006, sales recovered, reaching US$6.4 million.
What happened? For the experts, the main reason was the decision of ex-President Nestor Kirchner to toughen the Argentine diplomatic demand towards Iran over the bombing of the AMIA headquarters. The ex-president condemned, in UN assembly speeches, Iran’s refusal to extradite its citizens indicted in the bombing. On the other hand, Teheran decided to limit purchases as a signal of refusal. The result of the diplomatic conflict had consequences on trade relations.
But the situation changes notably starting in 2007. Exports were US$319 million. And from there the increase was incessant until reaching a record US$1.453 billion in 2010, one year after the worst economic crisis in the world since 1930. In 2011, the figure fell to US$1.068 billion. But all indications are that exports will continue at around this level.
What does Argentina sell to Iran? Basically the same products that lead the ranking of its main exports to the rest of the world: grains (wheat and corn), cooking oil and animal fats. The main companies that place their products there are Cargill, Bunge, Nidera and Aceitera General Deheza. Argentina also sells technological products. In 2010, it exported nuclear reactors and boilers for US$10 million. For its part, the country basically buys three products from Iran: coffee, tea and spices.
Exports to Iran represent less than 1.5% of total sales to the world.
Argentina is the number two exporter in the region to Iran. Brazil is the first. In 2010, Brasilia sold Teheran goods for US$2.12 billion.
Above all, the main world exporter to Iran, despite sanctions imposed by the West, is Germany: in 2010, its exports reached US$3.8 billion. The United States exported US$208 million.
To view this article in Spanish, visit: Las ventas a Irán crecieron 234 % desde que asumió Cristina