Iran is Australia’s 62nd largest trading partner in 2017 with two-way trade totalling A$491m (0.1% of the total). Australia’s total exports were worth A$341m in 2017. Shipments to Iran were predominantly made of meat, wool, coal and vegetables. Imports were worth US$150m in 2017 and comprised mainly copper ores, fruits and nuts, floor covering, lime, cement and construction materials.
International sanctions on Iran have weighed heavily on Australia’s bilateral trade and investment relationship with Iran. Since 2016, Australia has eased some of the trade and financial sanctions on Iran pursuant to the United Nations security council. But there are still some sanctions in place and the Australian government encourages Australian businesses to examine and take legal advice on implications of re-established domestic sanctions by the
United States.
Service exports and bilateral investment with Iran remain negligible; but Iran’s vast oil and gas fields could present opportunities for Australian firms, if sanctions were lowered. BHP Billiton considered investing in a pipeline that ran from Iran to Pakistan in 2003; but sanctions derailed that opportunity. Iranian student enrolments in Australia remain modest at around 3,000 (0.5% of total enrolments) in 2017.