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Iran signs deals to increase citrus, honey exports to China

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian honey producers will have opportunity to compete in China’s vast and profitable honey market.

Iran will start exports of citrus fruits and honey to China under new agreements reached between the two countries.

The two deals were signed virtually on Thursday between Iran’s agriculture minister Javad Sadatinejad and China’s customs chief Yu Jianhua, according to a statement by Sadatinejad.

Sadatinejad told the IRIB News that a first agreement would allow Iranian farmers and exporters to access the $600-million citrus fruit market of China, adding that Iranian honey producers will have the the opportunity to compete in China’s vast and profitable honey market under the second agreement signed with Beijing authorities.

The minister said the two deals would outline the hygiene and safety protocols required for exports of citrus fruits and honey from Iran to China.

Government figures show Iran’s annual production of citrus fruits is around 5.5 million metric tons (mt) while annual honey output in the country stands at around 130,000 mt.

That comes as agrifood shipments only account for around 15% of Iran’s annual exports to China, according to the Iranian customs office figures.

Sadatinejad said farming exports to China are expected to jump in the year to March with the signing of the two new agreements.

Iran has sought to rely more on trade revenues since its crude oil exports came under American sanctions in 2018.

The country is currently a major supplier of agriculture products to the Middle East, Central Asia, the Eurasia and the Caucasus.  

Increased exports caused a major boom in activity in the Iranian agriculture sector in the two years following the imposition of US sanctions. Government figures show that total output from the sector increased by more than a third in the five years to March 2020 to reach over 125 million mt.

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