(Adds comments, details)
By Pavel Polityuk
KIEV, March 20 Ukrainian private companies are
considering an increase in their food exports to Iran despite
payment problems caused by international sanctions against
Tehran, Ukraine's agriculture minister said.
"Iran's Deputy Economy Minister visited Kiev some time ago
and we are considering increasing the shipments (of food). It is
not the government, but private companies," Mykola Prysyazhnyuk
told Reuters on Wednesday.
The minister said that such shipments by private companies
were already under way, adding that there were no barter deals
with Iran but "direct payments".
He declined to give details of how Iranian consumers pay for
Private companies control more than 80 percent of overall
Ukrainian grain exports, although their share is due to decrease
in the coming season as state-controlled companies plan to boost
Last year Ukraine exported grain to Syria via a state
The European Union and the United States have imposed
toughened sanctions meant to discourage Tehran's nuclear
programme, which they say is has a military purpose.
The Western sanctions do not target food shipments, but
financial measures have frozen Iranian firms out of much of the
global banking system, complicating payments for imports on
which Iran relies for much of its food, consumer and industrial
Many foreign companies, including shipping firms, have
pulled out of trade with Iran for fear of losing business in the
United States and due to the complexities of arranging
Prysyazhnyuk did not say exactly when the Iranian official
had visited and did not name him.
The minister said future Ukrainian exports to Iran might
include nine types of food commodities, including grain, flour
and sunflower oil.
Ukraine, a leading exporters of sunflower oil, maize, wheat
and barley, exported 155,500 tonnes of barley, 2,835 tonnes of
millet, 92,580 tonnes of sunoil and 155,200 tonnes of maize to
Iran so far the 2012/13 July-June season, according to data from
"We see Iran as the market for many types of food, not only
for grain," Prysyazhnyuk said.
Ukraine exported 1.7 million tonnes of maize, 117,800 tonnes
of barley and 148,000 tonnes of sunoil to Iran in 2011/12.
(Reporting By Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Veronica Brown and