Dubai’s Direct Trade With Iran Reached $9.8 Billion in 2011

Dubai’s direct foreign trade with Iran reached 36 billion dirhams ($9.8 billion) last year, boosted by an increase in the price of gold, a much-traded commodity between the two neighbors.

Imports and exports stood at 5 billion dirhams while re- exports were 31 billion dirhams, with most-traded items including food, clothing, rugs, cars, diamonds and jewelry as well as gold, Dubai Customs said in an e-mailed statement today. It did not give comparative numbers for the previous year.

“Dubai is like a hypermarket for Iran,” Ahmed Butti Ahmed, executive chairman and director general at Dubai Customs, told reporters in Dubai today. In the United Arab Emirates, 80 percent of non-oil trade is channeled through Dubai, the Middle East’s business and tourism hub, he said.

Iranians are suffering from the U.S. drive to isolate the Islamic republic’s $480 billion economy through sanctions aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program by targeting trade, banking and oil exports. Some imports have disappeared from the shelves and others have soared in price amid a run on the Iranian currency that saw its dollar value drop by half on the black market earlier this year.

The second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Iran said in February it will accept payment for oil in any local currency or gold as new sanctions make it harder for trading partners to pay in dollars and euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tamara Walid in Abu Dhabi at twalid@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net.

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