Iran’s Top 10 Imports

Architecture in Iran (courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Architecture in Iran

Iranian imports amounted to US$51.6 billion in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a 6.6% increase since 2013 and a 20.9% uptick from 2016 to 2017. Officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Middle Eastern country is sometimes referred to as Persia.

Top suppliers accounting for over three-quarters (77.6%) of Iran’s international purchases were: China (25.4%), United Arab Emirates (15.8%), South Korea (7.1%), Turkey (6.2%), Germany (6%), India (4.4%), Switzerland (4.2%), France (3.4%), Italy (2.8%) then Netherlands (2.3%).

From a continental perspective, over two-thirds (68%) of Iran’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 28.4% of import purchases by Iran while 2.1% worth of goods originated from Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. A smaller percentage came from North American and African exporters, each at 0.5%.

Given Iran’s population of 82 million people, its total $51.6 billion in 2017 imports translates to roughly $630 in yearly product demand from every person in the Middle Eastern country.

Iran’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Iran’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Iran.

At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Iran’s most valuable imported products are cars followed by corn, mobile phones, rice, drugs and medicines, soya beans then automotive parts or accessories.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$8.8 billion (17.1% of total imports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $4.9 billion (9.6%)
  3. Cereals: $3.4 billion (6.6%)
  4. Vehicles: $3.3 billion (6.4%)
  5. Iron, steel: $2.1 billion (4%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $1.8 billion (3.5%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.7 billion (3.4%)
  8. Pharmaceuticals: $1.6 billion (3%)
  9. Oil seeds: $1.5 billion (2.9%)
  10. Organic chemicals: $1.4 billion (2.6%)

Iran’s top 10 imports accounted for 59.1% of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Imported optical, technical and medical equipment had the fastest-growing increase in value among Iran’s top 10 import categories, up 34.3% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving import purchases were organic chemicals, up 30.2%. Then came Iranian imports of cereals delivering the third-fastest gain at 22.2% driven by stronger Iranian demand for rice, corn and barley.

Oil seeds was the laggard among the top 10 Iranian imports, posting a more tepid 5.3% expansion.

Also see the section Searchable List of Iran’s Most Valuable Import Products further down near the bottom of this article.

Machinery

In 2017, Iranian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.

  1. Temperature-change machines: US$647.8 million (up 195.4% from 2016)
  2. Air or vacuum pumps: $524.5 million (up 12.6%)
  3. Miscellaneous machinery: $456.2 million (up 17.9%)
  4. Sort/screen/washing machinery: $373.3 million (down -14.4%)
  5. Computers, optical readers: $370.2 million (up 20.5%)
  6. Air conditioners: $328.2 million (down -23.9%)
  7. Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines: $308.4 million (up 11.3%)
  8. Piston engine parts: $286.2 million (up 33%)
  9. Steam/vapor turbines: $281.4 million (up 6.9%)
  10. Turbo-jets: $274.2 million (up 169%)

Among these import subcategories, Iran’s purchases of temperature-change machines (up 195.4%), turbo-jets (up 169%) and piston engine parts (up 33%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery including computers among Iranian businesses and consumers.

Electronics

In 2017, Iranian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics-related goods.

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$1.4 billion (up 33.1% from 2016)
  2. TV/radio/radar device parts: $585.6 million (up 5.2%)
  3. Electric generating sets, converters: $287.5 million (up 53.3%)
  4. Carbon electrodes, brushes for lamps or batteries: $221.5 million (up 184.4%)
  5. Electric motors, generators: $191.8 million (up 20.9%)
  6. Filament/discharge lamps: $166.2 million (up 125.2%)
  7. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $152 million (up 38.7%)
  8. Electrical converters/power units: $129.6 million (up 70.5%)
  9. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $118.1 million (up 83.7%)
  10. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $110.8 million (up 18.4%)

Among these import subcategories, imports of carbon electrodes, brushes for lamps or batteries (up 184.4%), filament or discharge lamps (up 125.2%) and solar power diodes and semi-conductors (up 83.7%), grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electronics-related imports among Iranian businesses and consumers.

Cereals

In 2017, Iranian importers spent the most on the following subcategories of cereals.

  1. Corn: US$1.6 billion (up 13.4% from 2016)
  2. Rice: $1.2 billion (up 75.8%)
  3. Barley: $518.5 million (up 95.6%)
  4. Wheat: $20.3 million (down -94.6%)
  5. Buckwheat, millet, canary seeds: $11.3 million (up 61.9%)
  6. Oats: $408,000 (up 1,600%)

Among these import subcategories, Iranian imports of oats (up 1,600%), barley (up 95.6%) and rice (up 75.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of cereals-related imports among Iranian businesses and consumers.

Vehicles

In 2017, Iranian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.

  1. Cars: US$1.8 billion (down -8.4% from 2016)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $905.5 million (up 48.0%)
  3. Trucks: $209.2 million (up 66.7%)
  4. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $123.2 million (down -18.4%)
  5. Tractors: $66.1 million (down -23.8%)
  6. Trailers: $64.4 million (up 51%)
  7. Automobile bodies: $24.8 million (up 10.4%)
  8. Public-transport vehicles: $22 million (up 13.2%)
  9. Chassis fitted with engine: $18.4 million (up 349.9%)
  10. Special purpose vehicles: $8 million (down -47.8%)

Among these import subcategories, Iran’s purchases of chassis fitted with engine (up 349.9%), trucks (up 66.7%) and trailers (up 51%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among Iranian businesses and consumers.



 

Searchable List of Iran’s Most Valuable Import Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the top products imported into Iran are cars followed by corn, mobile phones, rice, drugs and medicines, soya beans then automotive parts or accessories.

The following searchable table displays 200 of Iran’s most in-demand imported goods during 2017. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2016.

RankIran's Import Product2017 Value (US$)Change
1Cars$1.8 billion-8.4%
2Corn$1.6 billion+13.4%
3Phone system devices $1.4 billion+33.1%
4Rice$1.2 billion+75.8%
5Medication mixes in dosage$1.1 billion+10%
6Soya beans$943.3 million+3.8%
7Automobile parts/accessories$905.5 million+48%
8Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$675.1 million+35.6%
9Temperature-change machines$647.8 million+195.4%
10TV/radio/radar device parts$585.6 million+5.2%
11Frozen beef$562.5 million+51.5%
12Bananas, plantains$544.4 million+15.9%
13Air or vacuum pumps$524.5 million+12.6%
14Barley$518.5 million+95.6%
15Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues$503.3 million-17.2%
16Miscellaneous machinery$456.2 million+17.9%
17Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$453.6 million-9.4%
18Fiberboard (wood, other ligneous matter)$448.2 million-8.9%
19Sun/safflower/cotton-seed oil$439.5 million+73.8%
20Rubber tires (new)$427.8 million+17.5%
21Sugar (cane or beet)$415.1 million+29.7%
22Sort/screen/washing machinery$373.3 million-14.4%
23Computers, optical readers$370.2 million+20.5%
24Palm oil$367.1 million+20.2%
25Dried shelled vegetables$364.3 million+61.8%
26Blood fractions (including antisera)$339.7 million+19%
27Iron ferroalloys$328.2 million+243.1%
28Air conditioners$328.2 million-23.9%
29Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$326.5 million+65.1%
30 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $308.4 million+11.3%
31Uncoated paper for writing/printing$295.5 million+13.3%
32Iron or steel tubes, pipes$295.3 million-5.4%
33Electric generating sets, converters$287.5 million+53.3%
34Piston engine parts$286.2 million+33%
35Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$283.8 million+48.4%
36Tea (including flavored)$282.7 million+8.3%
37Steam/vapor turbines$281.4 million+6.9%
38Coated paper, paperboard$274.7 million+19.1%
39Turbo-jets$274.2 million+169%
40Liquid pumps and elevators$273.9 million+21.8%
41Refrigerators, freezers$271.6 million-3.1%
42Rubber/plastic article making machines$266.9 million+0.4%
43Other food preparations$251.2 million+12.7%
44Aluminum oxide/hydroxide$250.4 million+171.7%
45Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$249.7 million-11.4%
46Amino-resins$249.6 million+62%
47Miscellaneous locomotives, rolling stock$248.2 million+32.1%
48Cellulose fiber paper$243.1 million+14.2%
49Orthopedic appliances$242.2 million+22.3%
50Uncarded synthetic staple fibers$239.6 million+23.5%
51Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$234.1 million+14.3%
52Soya-bean oil$228.4 million+28.4%
53Non-stainless alloy steel flat-rolled goods$222.7 million-48.7%
54Carbon electrodes/brushes, lamp/battery carbons$221.5 million+184.4%
55Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$216.3 million+19.2%
56Taps, valves, similar appliances$213.9 million-12.2%
57Piston engines$209.8 million+19.5%
58Trucks$209.2 million+66.7%
59Weaving machines (loom)$205.6 million+41.4%
60Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$205.3 million+13.3%
61Flat-rolled stainless steel items$204.4 million+34.8%
62Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$201 million+39.7%
63Synthetic yarn woven fabrics$200.5 million-2.1%
64Butter, other fats/oils from milk$196.6 million+6.6%
65Electric motors, generators$191.8 million+20.9%
66Ethylene polymers$183.7 million-3.7%
67Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$182.8 million+27.7%
68Metal-casting machines$174.8 million+210.9%
69Printing machinery$167.8 million+7.4%
70X-ray equipment$167 million+62.9%
71Filament/discharge lamps$166.2 million+125.2%
72Regulate/control instruments$165.5 million+64.3%
73Sawn wood$152.3 million+9.7%
74Lower-voltage switches, fuses$152 million+38.7%
75Sowing seeds, fruits, spores$150 million+7.2%
76Washing machines$149.9 million-7.1%
77Refined copper, unwrought alloys$146.7 million+11,211%
78Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$146.1 million+40.2%
79Anti-knock/oxidation/gum inhibitors$144.5 million+42.3%
80Natural rubber$143.1 million+56.5%
81Pulp-making/paper-finishing machines$142 million+110.9%
82Processed petroleum oils$141.9 million+37.5%
83Cotton (uncarded, uncombed)$140.2 million+24.2%
84Railway track construction material$136.9 million-12.3%
85Sunflower seeds$136.2 million+8%
86Other nitrogen compounds$134.1 million+52.4%
87Textile fiber work machines$131.8 million+190.9%
88Synthetic filament yarn$131.3 million+22.7%
89Electrical converters/power units$129.6 million+70.5%
90Propylene/olefin polymers$129.5 million+101.5%
91Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$128.6 million+35.3%
92Sheep or goat meat$128.6 million+634%
93Miscellaneous plastic items$126.4 million+35.3%
94Calculators, accounting/ticket machines, cash registers$124.3 million-14.4%
95Motorcycle parts/accessories$123.2 million-18.4%
96Antibiotics$123 million+6.8%
97Oil seeds$121.7 million-5.5%
98Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$121 million+36.3%
99Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$118.1 million+83.7%
100Physical/chemical analysis tools$116.8 million+24.5%
101Phosphatic fertilizers$115.3 million+3,502%
102Other coloring matter, luminophores$111.2 million+28.8%
103Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$110.8 million+18.4%
104Moulding boxes/base$108 million+22.6%
105Electric water heaters, hair dryers$106.5 million+36.7%
106Textile fabrics with plastics$105.6 million-29.8%
107Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$105.4 million+1.2%
108Provitamins, vitamins$105.1 million+100.7%
109Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$104 million+14.8%
110Synthetic organic coloring$102.3 million+16%
111Acrylic polymers$101.6 million+25.8%
112Cyclic hydrocarbons$99.8 million+89%
113#N/A$99.2 million+21.7%
114Other measuring/testing machines$99.0 million+12%
115Household glassware$98.9 million+19.7%
116Pipe/chewing/snuff tobaccos$98 million+42.8%
117Unmanufactured tobacco, tobacco waste$96 million-47.6%
118Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$95.5 million+1%
119Wheeled toys including tricycles, scooters$94.8 million+31.7%
120Insulated wire/cable$93.8 million+76.3%
121Machinery parts$91.8 million-25.6%
122Ball, roller bearings$91.2 million+15%
123Printed circuits$90.3 million+14.4%
124Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$88.5 million+47.7%
125Synthetic rubber$88.3 million+31.3%
126Metal-rolling mills$86.8 million-46.6%
127Non-electric industrial/laboratory furnaces, ovens$86.6 million+1.1%
128Hair preparations$86.2 million+25.7%
129Industrial preparation machinery$85.6 million-15.3%
130Lifting/loading machinery$85.5 million+11.8%
131Coal, solid fuels made from coal$84.4 million+63.9%
132Iron or steel pipe fittings$83.5 million-14.2%
133Electric storage batteries$81.5 million+24.6%
134TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$81.2 million+12.1%
135Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps$81 million-13.8%
136Integrated circuits/microassemblies$79.5 million+73.8%
137Paper wallpaper, wallcoverings$78.2 million+37.6%
138Fertilizer mixes$78.2 million+8.4%
139Microphones/headphones/amps$78 million+30.5%
140Hand, pneumatic or hydraulic tools$77.5 million+9.1%
141Industrial fatty acids and alcohols$76.2 million+35.1%
142Dairy and milking machines$76.2 million-35%
143Electric ignition/start equipment$76 million+73.3%
144Whole fish (frozen)$75.9 million-30.6%
145Organo-sulphur compounds$75.7 million+11.5%
146Aluminum (unwrought)$75.2 million+21.9%
147Harvest/threshing machinery$73.6 million+48.9%
148Aluminum foil (thin)$73.3 million+21.5%
149Synthetic filament tow$72.7 million+34%
150Other organic cleaning preparations$70.8 million+14.5%
151Animal/vegetable fats, oils$70.4 million+58.3%
152Computer parts, accessories$70.2 million+4.1%
153Prepared adhesives, glues$68.6 million+0.7%
154Rubber accelerators, plasticizers$68.2 million+38.9%
155Acyclic alcohols$67.9 million+18.8%
156Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$67.8 million+17.3%
157Interchangeable hand/machine tools$67.3 million+15.9%
158Chemical industry products/residuals$67.3 million+11.8%
159Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$66.8 million-10%
160Unrecorded sound media$66.1 million+18.7%
161Tractors$66.1 million-23.8%
162#N/A$66 million+96.6%
163Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$66 million+87.7%
164Saturated acyclic mono acids$64.5 million+43.2%
165Potassic fertilizers (mineral, chemical)$64.5 million+20.6%
166Trailers$64.4 million+51%
167Glass fibers$64 million-5.3%
168Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$62.9 million+68.4%
169Vinyl chloride polymers$62.4 million+24.4%
170Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$62 million+21.1%
171Other diagnostic/lab reagents$61.1 million+22.0%
172Electronics light assembling machines$60.9 million+39.2%
173Machine tools to nail, staple, glue or assemble$60.7 million+22.1%
174Pulley tackles, hoists, winches, jacks$59.4 million-0.5%
175Polyamides$58.8 million+12.6%
176Machine-tool for metal$58.3 million+62.9%
177Millstones, grindstones, grindwheels$58.2 million+28.8%
178Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$57.9 million+63.6%
179Electromechanic domestic appliances$57.8 million+9.8%
180Pharmaceutical preparations, other products$57 million+25.5%
181Razors, blades$55.8 million+24.4%
182Amino-compounds (oxygen)$55.5 million-5.9%
183Industrial/laboratory electric furnaces, ovens$55.1 million+4%
184Synthetic staple fibers yarn$55.1 million-22.4%
185Rape/colza seeds$54.8 million+23.5%
186Radar, radio communication items$54.7 million-94%
187Petroleum coke, bitumen, oil residues$54 million+211.5%
188Zinc ores, concentrates$53.7 million+231.5%
189Miscellaneous office machines$53.3 million+42.8%
190Fish fillets, pieces$52.5 million-17.7%
191Polycarboxylic acids$52.4 million+72.1%
192Paper containers, cellulose wadding$52.4 million-5.7%
193Radio broadcasting/reception equipment$51.9 million+67.6%
194TV receivers/monitors/projectors$51.7 million+74.1%
195Metal sheeting gaskets, joints$51.7 million+20.4%
196Photographic plates/film, unexposed$50.3 million+33%
197Vacuum cleaners$49.7 million+35.4%
198Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections$49.1 million-12.4%
199Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$48.5 million+27%
200Yarn wash/clean/iron machines$48.3 million+48.5%

These 200 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$39.8 billion or over three-quarters (77%) by value for all products imported into Iran during 2017.
 

See also Iran’s Top 10 Exports, China’s Top 10 Exports and Top Middle Eastern Export Countries

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 27, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on October 27, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on October 27, 2018

Wikipedia, Iran. Accessed on October 27, 2018