Iran seeks to trim imports, cope with sanctions

Business Materials 26 August 2010 12:47 (UTC +04:00)

A double-urgency bill will soon be proposed to the Parliament aiming to cut unnecessary imports and boost domestic production in response to international sanctions, the head of the Majlis Economic Committee stated.

If the domestic products are not improved in terms of quality and the consumer prices are not lowered, the national economy would face serious problems, Arsalan Fathipour, Jamejamonline reported.

Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani said the nation should limit imports to "necessary goods" to help lift domestic production and reduce the amount of hard currency exiting the country, the state-run daily newspaper Iran reported Tuesday.

"Imports should be reduced," Bahmani was quoted as saying. "In other words, we should not allow the import of every sort of product."

Four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions and separate penalties imposed by the United States and its European allies have hit Iran's economy as the country battles inflation and unemployment but have failed to persuade the country to halt a key part of its nuclear program.

Iranian officials argue that sanctions are counterproductive, depriving Western firms of access to the country's market while simultaneously boosting Tehran's self-sufficiency. Iran has a well developed automotive and airline sector, and local companies have increasingly stepped in to fill the void created by Western nations that have shied away from work in the country's vital oil sector.