Preliminary findings show that about half of Iran's imports to Afghanistan are smuggled into the country's markets.
Iranian media quoted officials from Afghanistan and Iran's Chamber of Commerce as saying that by the end of this year, Iran's exports to Afghanistan would reach $3 billion--double last year's exports.
But the Afghan Ministry of Finance says that in the first eight months of this year, the total value of Iran's exports to Afghanistan was about $800 million dollars.
According to the latest statements by officials of Afghanistan and Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Iran's exports to Afghanistan will have increased from $1.5 billion dollars last year to $3 billion dollars by the end of this year,
But the Ministry of Finance provided different numbers of Iran's exports to Afghanistan from last year and the eight months of this year.
“Last year Iran's exports to Afghanistan amounted to more than $1.2 billion, but in the first eight months of this year, the figure reached to more than $800 million,” said Shamroz Khan Masjidi, the ministry spokesman.
The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee [MEC], blames the smuggling of goods through official and unofficial channels for the large differences in the export figures of exporting countries and Afghanistan.
“One of the reasons for the difference in figures is that Iran does not provide the necessary documents to traders for export, and this provides the means for these goods to enter customs with forged documents,” said Maiwand Rohani, Executive Director, Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee.
“The existence of corruption in customs and the challenges that pave the way for smuggling itself pave the way for differences in figures,” said Sayed Zaman Hashemi, CEO of Chamber of Trade and Investment.
Officials from the Chamber of Commerce and Investment have repeatedly complained about the increase in smuggling of goods through customs.
A number of traders say that some of the commercial goods with forged customs documents enter the customs with changed numbers, weights and description of goods, and in some cases goods enter the country's markets without being taxed at customs.