TEHRAN, April 11: Iran has greatly expanded its trade during the year up to March, turning to Asia to circumvent Western economic sanctions, according to data reported by Donya-i-Eqtesad newspaper on Monday.

Iran imported $64.3 billion worth of products, up 15 per cent year-on-year, and exported $32.6 billion worth of domestically-manufactured agricultural oil (excluding crude oil) products, customs director Abbas Memarnejad was quoted by the daily as saying.

Tehran has increased its non-oil exports to Asia by almost 20 per cent, which now represents 83 per cent of its sales, while Europe, whose purchases have fallen by almost a quarter, only accounted for 13 per cent, according to Customs figures.

The upward trend also stands true for imports, according to Memarnejad.

He said 61 per cent of Iranian imports came from Asia, including the Middle East, while Europe was responsible for 34 per cent and the American continent for only two per cent.

Among those European countries whose exports to Iran declined the most were Britain, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and Austria, according to the Iranian customs official.—AFP

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