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Iran increases non-oil trade with Shanghai Cooperation Organization

The uptick in trade comes at an important time for Iran’s relations with Russia, Kazakhstan and India.
Iran SCO

Iran's trade is increasing with members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). 

Iranian Customs Administration spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said today that Iran exported $5.5 billion worth of non-oil goods to SCO member states in the second quarter of 2022, constituting a 20% increase from 2021. Iran imported $4.34 billion in non-oil goods from SCO members during the quarter, which was a 41% increase from last year, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported

China was Iran's biggest import and export partner by far, according to data published by the agency. 

Why it matters: The Beijing-based Shanghai Cooperation Organization works to enhance trade, promote cooperation and maintain stability and security in Asia. China, Russia, and India are members, as are Kazakhstan and several other former Soviet Union states in Central Asia. Turkey is also a “dialogue partner” in the organization. 

Iran joined the Shanghai Cooperation Council as a permanent member last September. 

The increase in trade comes at an important time for Iran’s relations with various SCO members. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited India in June to upgrade ties. This week, India’s central bank decided to allow import and export payments in rupees, which could boost trade with the Islamic Republic. 

Iran also received a large cargo shipment from Russia bound for India this week. Iran and Russia are promoting the International North-South Transport Corridor, which connects Russia to India, as an alternative to the Suez Canal in Egypt. To this end, Iran and Russia set up joint trade centers in June. 

Moreover, Iran and Kazakhstan inaugurated a new railway network last month that connects the Central Asian country to Turkey. 

Know more: China is making inroads with a variety of countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, economist Howard J. Shatz wrote for Al-Monitor Pro recently. 

Editor's note: this article was edited to include further information on Iran's trade. 

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