Brazil is Iran’s top partner in Latin America, with Argentina and Ecuador trailing close behind.
BY CHRONICLE STAFF
Last week’s visit to Brazil by Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caused controversy, but made sense for the Iranian leader.
Brazil is Iran’s largest trade partner in Latin America and the top Latin American exporter to Iran, according to a Latin Business Chronicle analysis of data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The analysis also shows that Iran’s trade with Latin America tripled last year to $2.9 billion.
Brazil’s trade with Iran reached $1.3 billion last year. That was an 88 percent increase from 2007, according to the IMF data. However, during Ahmadinejad’s visit, Brazilian officials said two-way trade in 2007 stood at $2 billion. Neither Brazil nor Iran has released detailed trade data on their two-way trade for 2007 or 2008.
LOW VENEZUELA TRADE
In addition to Brazil, Ahmadinejad last week visited Bolivia and Venezuela. Iran’s trade with Bolivia is miniscule, while that with Venezuela is surprisingly low despite a dramatic boost in business relations between the two countries in recent years.
Total trade between Iran and Venezuela reached $51.8 million last year, a 30.8 percent increase. That makes Venezuela Iran’s fifth-largest trade partner in Latin America, behind such countries as Argentina, Ecuador and Peru.
Thanks to a dramatic jump in exports to Iran last year, Argentina managed to replace Mexico as Iran’s second-largest trade partner in Latin America. Argentina’s exports jumped from $29 million in 2007 to $1.2 billion last year, according to the IMF. The Argentine exports account for practically all of the two-way trade with Iran.
ECUADOR TRADE JUMPS
Another country seeing a strong increase in trade with Iran is Ecuador. It went from being Iran’s seventh-largest partner in Latin America to its third-largest partner behind Brazil and Argentina. Trade jumped from $5.7 million in 2007 to $168.2 million last year, mostly thanks to Ecuadorian imports from Iran. While Ecuador didn’t figure among the top Latin American markets for Iranian products in 2007, it became the largest destination last year after its purchases from Iran grew from $0.01 million in 2007 to $168.2 million last year.
Iran’s trade with Latin America is largely dominated by its imports of Latin American goods, which last year accounted for $2.5 billion, a 240.2 percent increase from 2007. Meanwhile, Iranian exports to Latin America increased by 85.2 percent to $337.6 million, according to the Latin Business Chronicle analysis of the IMF data.
© Copyright Latin Business Chronicle
TABLE: Iran-Latin Trade 2008: Top Partners, Top Export Markets, Top Import Origin