Japan’s imports from Iran, mainly crude oil, stood at more than $1.27 billion during the first half of 2000 — 3.3 percent above the amount registered during the same period in 1999, said Madika Onishi, a senior researcher at Japan's External Trade Relations Organization (JETHRO) to IRNA, the Iranian news agency.
Japanese exports to Iran during the first half of 2000 equaled $255.9 million, down 0.6 percent from the value of exports reported during January-June 1999. Industrial machinery made up a major portion of Japanese exports to Iran.
Iran was Japan’s third largest crude oil supplier in 1999 — 183.29 million barrels of crude, said the Japanese ministry of international trade and industry. Japan met 83.44 percent of its oil requirement from the Middle East during 1999 — 3.1 percent less than in 1998. The first and second ranking exporters during 1999 were the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
According to Onishi, the level of Japanese investments in Iran remains low. This, he said, was the result of a variety of factors, with one of the most important being the attitude of the Japanese government, which generally does not encourage investment in the region, and particular in Iran.
Furthermore, he said, Japanese companies tend to assume that investment in Iran is not profitable. Other factors include political issues, lack of implementation of laws supporting foreign investment in Iran and the shortcomings of the Iranian banking system. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )