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Seda Hergnyan

Armenia Exports to Iran Up 12% but Trade Deficit Remains

When some of the economic sanctions placed on Iran by the West were lifted in late 2015 and early 2016, leading to a slight uptick in the Iranian economy, many in Armenia started discussing what this development meant in terms of spurring Iranian-Armenia commerce and business.

Some saw the lifting of sanctions as having a positive effect on Iranian-Armenian trade volume. Subsequent statistics proved this wasn’t the case.

The West never fully lifted economic sanctions on Iran and Armenia never benefited as a result.

Overall trade between Iran and Armenia rose substantially in 2018, mostly due to greater Armenian imports from Iran.

According to Armenia’s National Statistical Service, Armenia exported $94.2 million worth of goods to Iran, a 12% increase over 2017.

Armenian imports from Iran in 2018 totaled $269.4 million, up 54.2% from 2017.

In 2018, Iranian-Armenian trade totaled $363.6 million, up 40.5% from 2017.

Armenia has always had a trade deficit with Iran.

Overall, Iran comprises a mere 4.9% of Armenia’s overall trade volume.

Armenia: Exports to and Imports from Iran(in USD millions)

              Exports           Imports

2009        $33                 $162.4

2010        $84.8               $199.9

2011        $106.2              $216.8             

2012        $108.5              $219.4

2013        $94.9                $198.5

2014         $84.9               $206.5

2015         $81.7                $198.4

2016         $75.2                $164

2017         $84.1                 $174.7

2018         $94.2                 $269.4


According to stats provided by Armenia’s Customs Service, Armenia exported $110 million worth of goods to Iran in 2018, of which 83.5% was electricity. (In return, Armenia received natural gas). This arrangement has been in place since 2009.

Hetq has calculated that 15-20% of the electricity produced yearly in Armenia is exported to Iran.

Of the remaining 18.1% of Armenia exports to Iran, lamb and goat meat comprised 14.3%. The rest was unrefined aluminum, lumber, and electrical/battery waste.

Armenian imports from Iran are more diversified.

According to Armenia’s Customs Service, Armenia imported $276.7 million in good fromIran in 2017, of which natural gas comprised 31% ($85 million).

Cement was the next largest import - $25.7 million, followed by coke, bitumen and petroleum products ($14.5 million).

These imports were followed by fruits, walnuts, fertilizer, construction materials, glass, tiles, metal bars and wire, and pipes.

Comments (1)

The problem with Iran has never been the sanctions. The problem is Iran's extremely conservative and protectionist economic policies which are mainly driven to increase its export. In return, Armenia has very loose and liberal laws. So, in essence, Iran cherry picks what it wants to buy from Armenia but Armenia leaves its doors open on all Iranian products. Armenia sells millions of dollars of tobacco products to Iran's neighbor, Iraq, yet it can not do the same in Iran.

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