Expanding Iran’s Non-Oil Exports

From a new IMF report on Iran:

The comparatively low share of oil exports to GDP reflects Iran’s relatively large and diversified economy. Natural resources dominate Iran’s exports representing almost 53 percent of total exports but account only for 12.3 percent of Iran’s GDP. Iran exports more products than the average of MENA countries but many of its products are closely related to the oil sector (such as plastic and rubber products).


Iran needs to expand and intensify its trade with more partners if it is to increase non-oil exports and achieve the Sixth Development Plan target of growing non-oil exports to 15 percent of GDP by 2020. Examining Iran’s main exports in three broad goods categories highlights the opportunities for Iranian non-oil exports:

  • Polyethylene (top export of plastic and rubber category, representing 11.6 percent of Iran’s non-oil exports). Iran mainly exports this good to China (84 percent) and Turkey (10 percent). However, the large European market—which imported US$ 9.5 billion of polyethylene in 2015 and accounted for 35 percent of the global market — is largely underexploited.
  • Car parts (top export of the transportation category, representing 0.1 percent of Iran non-oil exports). Iran mainly exports car parts to a small set of countries in Europe, namely Turkey (72 percent), France (24 percent), and Russia (3 percent).
  • Pistachios (top export of the vegetable category, representing 5.9 percent of Iran non-oil exports). Iran exports pistachios to a large share of world buyers.

Improving Iran’s export competitiveness, attracting more foreign direct investments, removing barriers to trade and developing bilateral and multilateral trade agreements would aid Iran in reaching its targets for the development of the non-oil export sector.

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Posted by at 11:06 AM

Labels: Energy & Climate Change


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