US sanctions limit the access of Iranian banks to operations with dollars, remaining one of the main obstacles to the export of oil products of Kazakhstan’s Onisgroup to the Islamic Republic, general director of Onisgroup, Chingis Nugumarov, told Trend.
"Considering the expansion of export routes for oil products, we do not bet on Iran yet. Presently, we are negotiating with potential buyers, to solve the main issue - the conversion of rial," Nugumarov said.
Despite the problems with implementation of banking operations, transshipment and supply of hydrocarbons to Iran, as well as the transit of oil products through Iran remain the priority areas of the external activity of Onisgroup.
In addition to Iran, the group of companies also sees China and Vietnam as alternative routes for trading and transshipping oil and oil products.
Following the removal of international sanctions against Tehran in 2016, the country sees huge opportunities in the region, in particular in delivering Central Asia’s natural resources to the world markets through establishing the long-awaited North-South transport corridor linking Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to Persian Gulf.
The post-sanctions era also offers Iran new trade potentials with the region. However, some problems, with unsettled banking and money transfer problems on top of them, prevent Tehran from taking the opportunity.
In 2015, the Islamic Republic ranked seventh accounting for 1.9 percent of overall trade of the five Central Asian states, while Turkey, which despite lacking a direct access to the market, took a 5.6 percent share of the trade. Central Asia’s trade is dominated by China, Russia and the European Union.
In last 10 years, Iran’s exports to Kazakhstan have gradually increased, while the imports’ value has fallen.
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