Iran nuclear deal could hold trade benefits for Thailand

5 Thailand welcomed the agreement on nuclear development between Iran and its negotiating partners led by the United States both for reasons of global security and Thai trade, as Iran was a significant trading partner for Thailand before sanctions were imposed on the Middle Eastern country. Thai officials hoped that lifting sanctions will help Thai exports grow further.

At the Ministry of Commerce, Permanent Secretary Chutima Boonyapraphasara said expectations were high that the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and the resulting lifting of sanctions would have a positive effect on the world economy and trade, not just for Thailand. But Thailand will definitely stand to benefit from the reintegration of Iran into the world trading system.

“With Iran’s more open economic policy, the country should import more products from Thailand, particularly pickup trucks and rice. Iran has slowed its imports of pickups and rice from Thailand since it has been under sanctions. The lifting off the trading ban should encourage Iran to engage in more international trade and import many products from Thailand,” Chutima said.

How soon Thailand’s trade would pick up with Iran would depend upon how quickly sanctions are lifted. If the removal of sanctions happens rapidly, then the ministry is optimistic that the boost in trade could help Thailand achieve its target of 1.2 percent export growth this year.

Despite the sanctions, Thailand had been engaged in limited trade with Iran through the United Arab Emirates. Iran is Thailand’s 11th-largest trading partner in the Middle East. Trade between Thailand and Iran was worth US$357 million last year, and was valued at $139.4 million in the first five months of 2015, up by 28.6 per cent year on year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Last year, export from Thailand to Iran was worth $322.16 million, while imports were worth $35 million. Iran has been a significant importer of rice from Thailand for decades.

 

Thailand Focus July 28, 2015
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