The lifting of a US ban on imports of Iranian carpets and pistachio nuts failed to prevent the exports of both products weakening in the past year, the state news agency IRNA said Friday, March 2, quoting a customs report.
The report said sales of pistachios had fallen by an unspecified amount and those of carpets by 15.9 percent to $542.8 million, despite the easing of the embargo in April 2000.
But revenue from Iran's non-oil exports as a whole rose 14.9 percent to $3.3 billion from $2.87 billion in the 11 months since March 20 last year compared with the previous period, the report said.
Officials said a lengthy drought had hit the pistachio crop and blamed the poor quality of imported threads for the lack of demand for carpets.
The report said 85 percent of the targets for the Iranian year set in the non-oil sector, which includes natural gas, had been reached in the 11 months.
Iran, ranking second in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, draws 85 percent of its export revenue from sales of crude. While possessing a quarter of the world's gas reserves it has yet to build up its exports in this field.
For other products, petrochemical exports rose 17 percent to $331.8 million, steel and other metals were up 65.2 percent to $266.5 million, and gas soared 155.8 percent to $191.9 million.
Total imports in the same period were up 6.6 percent to $13.3 billion, including industrial machinery worth $2.5 billion, metals worth $1.273 billion, chemical products worth $533.5 million, plastics worth $432.9 million and paper worth $405.9 million. Vegetable oil imports totaled $347 million and pharmaceuticals $305 million, the report said. — (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )