Trade with Iran picked up before embargo ended

© Flip Franssen/Hollandse Hoogte

According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the value of Dutch exports of goods to Iran rose beyond 450 million euros in 2015, an increase of 21 percent within twelve months. Exporters were faced with trade restrictions in recent years. As a result of the restrictions, Iran occupied a modest 64th position on the list of export destinations last year. Pistachio nuts are Iran’s most important export product to the Netherlands.

Imports from and exports to Iran, 2010-2015

High volume of medical instruments exported to Iran

Medical instruments and equipment make up more than one-third of Dutch exports to Iran. After Europe and the USA phased in a trade embargo in 2010, exports to Iran declined significantly. The value of Dutch goods exports to Iran plummeted from 600 million euros in 2011 to 250 million euros two years later. The number of exporters was reduced almost by half over the past five years. In 2015 more than 500 companies were engaged in exports to Iran.

Netherlands mainly imports pistachios

In 2010, Iran was still a key oil supplier to the Netherlands at a total value of 900 million euros. After 2012 Dutch oil imports from Iran were cut off completely. In 2015 imports of Iranian goods grew by 37 percent to 31 million euros. With an approximate worth of 11 million euros pistachio nuts are Iran’s most important export product to the Netherlands.

Step by step, the UN Security Council and the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran from 2010 onwards on account of its nuclear programme. On 15 January 2016 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officially announced that Iran had complied with all conditions as laid down in the nuclear agreement of July 2015. Subsequently, a large number of sanctions were lifted, making it possible for Dutch exporters of oil, natural gas, gold and precious metals and exporters in the maritime and transport sector to restore trade relations.

China is Iran’s most important trading partner

With an export value reaching 3 billion euros in 2014, China is Iran’s most important export destination. That year, the EU imported goods worth nearly 1.2 billion euros from Iran. Over one-quarter of goods imported by Iran (value about 10 billion euros) come from the United Arab Emirates. The EU is Iran’s second largest trading partner with an export value of 6.4 billion euros. Germany tops the list with a share of 37 percent. The Netherlands is in fourth place after Italy and France.

Iran\'s most important EU trading partners, 2014