Export to Iran (and what does Iran import?)

Export to Iran: growing business opportunities

Located in the Middle East, Iran is bordered by the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea, in between the two countries: Iraq and Pakistan. The country had a total population of over 81 million people and with an urban population of 73.4% in total. The average Gini Index for the income distribution is 44.5.

With most of the sanctions on Iran lifted, there is a growing opportunity to export all kind of goods to Iran. Having a local representative is practically always needed.

What kind of products and services do people import to Iran?

  • Industrial Supplies
  • Capital Goods
  • Foodstuffs and Other Consumer Goods
  • Technical Services

Which are Iran’s top import partners (percentage of total imports)

  • UAE (29.8%)
  • China (12.7%)
  • Algeria (8.3%)
  • India (5.6%)
  • South Korea (4.0%)
  • Turkey (4.4%)

Which are Iran’s top cargo airports?

  • Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport
  • Payam Airport

Most of Iran’s traded goods are transported by the sea.

Which is Iran’s top container port?

The major container port in Iran is Shahid Rajaee.

Export of your goods and import into Iran

Importing to Iran requires some knowledge and experience, especially regarding prohibited items. Here are a few basic guidelines on the procedure but the ideal way to initiate your first export to this country would be to utilise a local affiliate or export specialist.  

Products imported to Iran are categorised under 3 classifications:

  1. Permissible goods that do not need a licence
  2. Conditional goods that can be imported only with a license
  3. Prohibited goods that are strictly banned under the Islamic Sheia or by general law

Once the products are classified, the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines will issue a commercial card. One also requires an import license.

Import Tariffs and Taxes

The CIF system is used to value goods entering Iran. Based on this, registration fees and other expenses are levied. The exporter is also required to produce documents on the goods being imported such as origin etc as the total import expenses take these into account on a floating rate of exchange basis.

Goods exempted from customs taxes and duties include agricultural machinery used for animal husbandry. Certain items such as road and mining industry machinery, scientific, technical or research instruments or raw materials such as ordinary metals, chemicals can be permitted special exemptions decided by the Harmonised System of Coding.

What is Iran’s distribution structure like?

Iran’s distribution network consists of wholesalers, retailers, organisational buyers, exclusive representatives, and auctioneers.

Global brands have gradually begun entering this market post the lifting of sanctions. However, lack of knowledge about the right distribution channel, a complete understanding of the target audience and long distances from the market are common issues plaguing new and international market players.

Due to Iran’s complexities, it would be vital to conduct market research to identify the correct industry, strategy and distribution method for your product.

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