Oman


Lifting of curbs on Iran to trigger trade boom


The sanctions have cost Iran $120 billion in lost revenues since the USA and the EU started imposing tough penalties on energy, ports, insurance, shipping, banking and other transactions in 2010. Photo - File photograph

The deal has relaxed restrictions on cars, petrochemicals, aviation parts, gold, and insurance for oil cargoes. In addition, it will let Iran continue exporting oil at current levels instead of forcing further reductions

Muscat: Shippers in Oman are anxiously waiting for a boost in business after Iran and six world powers, including the USA and its European Union partners, struck a deal last week in Geneva.
"We are expecting the business to boom as the deal on easing of the economic sanctions comes into effect. We can expect a surge in exports from Oman to Iran and through Iran to other countries. Especially, business with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will witness a surge," Abraham Raju, managing director at the Sohar Shipping and spokesperson for shipping agents' group in Oman, told the Times of Oman.

According to the shipping agents here, while Oman exports food stuff, automotive parts, cooking oil and other cosmetics, it imports mainly salt and bitumen.

"Worldwide, the shipping industry is in an upbeat mood, mainly the auto industry firms and food item suppliers. Imports to Oman from Iran and through Iran will also witness a surge. Oman shipping agents can definitely benefit from the new outcome when it comes into effect," the spokesperson added.

The deal has relaxed restrictions on cars, petrochemicals, aviation parts, gold, and insurance for oil cargoes. In addition, it will let Iran continue exporting oil at current levels instead of forcing further reductions.

In exchange for a selective easing of sanctions, the deal struck by Iran and world powers compels Iran to curtail sensitive nuclear activities, reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium and agree to increased international inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Direct commercial benefits from the agreement will be limited because the primary sanctions on oil and banking remain in place.  Its significance may be as the first break in a pattern of ever-tighter sanctions on Iran and a potential first step toward its return to the international economy.

Surge in business
"Shippers are welcoming the easing of sanctions. There are some existing embargoes. When the deal comes into effect, these will be lifted and it will bring in more business for us," Abdul Rahim, general manager of Badr Shipping in Muscat, said.

"We are waiting for the positive outcome. When the embargoes are lifted and sanctions are eased, we can surely expect a surge in the business with CIS," he added.

According to US Treasury estimates, sanctions have cost Iran $120 billion in lost revenues since the USA and the EU started imposing tough penalties on energy, ports, insurance, shipping, banking and other transactions in 2010.

Data from Business Monitor International (BMI) shows that ship container throughput at top cargo port Bandar Abbas is forecast to reach just 1.49 million TEUs (20 foot equivalent units) by the end of 2013 — down from 2.8 million TEUs in 2011.

According to BMI, it is estimated to modestly grow to 1.68 million TEUs in 2014.

Meanwhile, there are also reports that a pledge by world powers to ease ship insurance sanctions on some Iranian oil exports is likely to take months to come into effect due to complex law and regulation and to insurers' unease over providing cover.

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