Bilateral Trade Relations with Iran

European Commission of the European Union
June 1, 2005

Last Updated June 2005

EU is Iran's main trading partner concerning both imports and exports. EU exports to Iran have almost doubled since 1999, in comparison with year 2000 they increased 25.8% and in the opposite direction, EU imports from Iran decreased 20.5%.

I. Bilateral Trade Relations

Iran total trade with the world in 2004 amounted €57,215 million with a trade superavit of €275 million total exports were €28,470 million (0.4% of total world trade) and €28,475 million in imports (0.3% of total world trade).

In relation to commercial partners, Iran has a quite diversified market where the EU is its main trading partner then with 35.1% of total market share, followed by Japan with 12.3%, China 9.1%, South Korea 5.7% and Turkey, U.A. Emirates, South Africa, Russia and Singaporewith between 2% and 4% each.

In 2004 Iran's main suppliers were the EU (44% of total imports), China (7.8%), U.A. Emirates (6.4%) and South Korea (6,3%) and the main export markets were EU(26.2%), Japan (21%), China (10.4%) and South Africa (6.6%).

Trade in Goods

In 2004, EU imports from Iran totalled more than €8.18 Billion, whereas the value of EU exports to Iran in the same year amounted to more than €11.86 billion, resulting in a trade balance surplus for Iran of €3,684 million.

Iran occupies rank number 24th in the EU's total trade. The EU exports to Iran are quite concentrated in three main products, machinery and transport equipment (66.6%), manufactured goods (10.3%) and chemicals and related products (9.6%).

Iran is an important destination market for EU's iron and steel and power generating machinery.

More than 80 % of EU imports from Iran are energy related (mainly oil products), representing 3.9% of the total EU imports in energy products. Iran ranks as 6th supplier of energy products for the EU. Agricultural imports amount 4.9% of total imports.

Foreign Direct Investments

In 2002 Iran invested €125 million in the EU, representing 0.08% of EU total inflows; while the EU invested in Iran €146 million that amount 0.1% of the EU total outflows.

At the end of 2002, 0.18% of the stock of EU inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) came form Iran, while 0.05% of the stock of EU outward FDI was in Iran.

II. Bilateral Agreement

The Council of the European Union agreed in June 2002 to open negotiations with Iran which would cover political aspects as well as a trade and co-operation agreement. This Agreement should, once concluded, put Iran's trade and co-operation relations with the European Union on a contractual basis. The negotiations were launched in Brussels in December 2002.

Iran lodged an application to accede to WTO in September 1996; so far there has been no agreement on the WTO to start the accession negotiation process.