Relaxed Iranian sanctions tipped to hit UAE laptop trade

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Laptop shipments to the UAE are expected to fall by as much as 20 percent following the relaxation of some sanctions on Iran, according to industry commentators.

Sanctions have been lifted on various technologies being exported to Iran, including telecoms tools and personal computing devices, according to a US statement made in May.

Some commentators said this could hit re-exports of products destined for the Iranian market, via places such as Dubai.

“Presently, the majority of PC market players are still waiting for the official communication regarding this change of law. Until then, no action has been taken by market players. We will continue to see re-exports from Dubai to Iran until then. But if implemented, portable PC shipments into the UAE will decline by at least 20 per cent,” Fouad Rafik Charakla, Research Manager at market intelligence firm IDC, told Gulf News.

Neelesh Bhatnagar, Chief Executive of the electronics retailer EMAX, agreed that UAE re-exports could take a hit – but told Gulf News that the relaxation of the sanctions posed an opportunity for some retailers to set up a base in Iran.

New regulations allow the legal exportation of some devices to Iran. But the US has recently tightened sanctions on Iran’s currency, which has seen the value of the rial plummet.

Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer at the retailer Jacky’s, said he was concerned by the currency issues, but did not see notable changes to trade in the future.

“It is the moving in and out of money that is the problem, as the sanctions have only been lifted on the products, not the currency. I don’t see a major change following the adjustments, but banks are being conservative when doing business,” Panjabi told Al Arabiya.

Nadeem Khanzadah, Head of Retail at Jumbo Electronics, said he foresees a positive impact on retail sales after the loosening of the sanctions on some electronic devices.

“On the retail side, we see this as a positive development, with retail sales lifting as it is easier for Iranians to come and buy UAE products due to the price differences and the lower taxes. Before the lifting of the sanctions, demand was not fully satisfied, but now, sales will only be boosted further and demand satisfied,” Khanzadah told Al Arabiya.

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