Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech to muslims leaders and scholars at a meeting in Hyderabad on February 15, 2018. (AFP Photo)
TEHRAN, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- With the emerging political tensions between Tehran and Abu Dhabi, Iran is considering replacing its traditional trade hub the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with Qatar and Oman, Financial Tribune reported Sunday.
Iran is working to curb its trade ties with the UAE, because the Persian Gulf state has put pressure on Iranian traders, mostly over value-added tax, visa issuance and banking restrictions.
Earlier this month, the Central Bank of Iran pointed out several obstacles created by UAE banks for Iranian merchants, saying Iran is seeking alternatives in the region to replace the UAE in its banking transactions with Iran.
In the meantime, Iran's relations with Oman and Qatar are growing and it is proposed that they replace the UAE as the main trade hub for Iran, Hossein Yaqoubi, deputy for international affairs of Iran's Central Bank, was quoted as saying.
Besides, Adnan Musapour, head of Iran-Qatar Chamber of Commerce, said that Qatar and Oman have the potential to facilitate Iran's trade with the world.
"But we should not cut off our trade ties with the UAE... The Persian Gulf state was our only trade gateway during the sanctions," Musapour told Financial Tribune.
The latest data released by Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration showed that trade between Iran and the UAE reached 12.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2017.
Iran's exports to Qatar reached 215 million dollars during the 11 months until Feb. 20, significantly higher than the previous year's 92 million dollars. Also, the import from Qatar experienced a 157 percent growth during the 10 months to Jan. 21, with the value of imports at 21 million dollars.
Banking cooperation, however, seems to be still an issue for Iranian traders moving to Qatar.