EghtesadOnline: A temporary agreement on establishing a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and Iran is expected to be signed in 2017, Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board Tigran Sargsyan said on Monday.
Negotiations between EEU and Iran on a temporary free trade zone agreement are expected to be concluded by the next EEU summit scheduled for October 11, Russian news agency Sputnik reported.
“The decision has been taken to speed up the work to sign the agreement with Iran. We expect the document to be signed in 2017,” Sargsyan told reporters following a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Astana.
In June, the EEC, which is the bloc’s main executive body, said the union and Iran had finished working on the text of the temporary free trade zone agreement and that the sides will continue talks on liberalizing mutual market access and coordinating tariff obligations in the near future, Financial Tribune reported.
Deputy minister of industries, mining and trade, Mojtaba Khosrotaj, said last month that exports to the member states of Eurasian Economic Union will either be fully exempt from customs duty or enjoy a duty cut of up to 80%.
A draft agreement between Iran and EEU was signed in Yerevan, Armenia, on July 5 after more than a year of negotiations for levying preferential export tariffs on 350 Iranian industrial products in return for 180 commodities from EEU.
The agreement was signed by Khosrotaj, who is also chairman of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, and Trade Minister of EEU Veronica Nikishina.
Noting that the export of construction materials, including tiles and ceramics, to EEU will be subject to 80% customs duty cut, Khosrotaj added that downstream petrochemical products, cables and pipes as well as metal and glass products are to enjoy a range of tax and duty exemptions.
A Russian Agriculture Ministry’s report released late June after negotiations on a temporary agreement for the creation of an Iran-EEU free trade zone said Iran is ready to make tariff concessions on a wide range of agricultural products, excluding wheat and refined oil, as well as mineral water and cigarettes.
“In its maximum proposal presented at the round, Iran demonstrated its readiness to make concessions under the terms requested by member states, in almost all items EEU is interested in, excluding wheat and refined oil, as well as mineral water and cigarettes,” the ministry was quoted as saying by Russian news agency TASS.
The EEU, comprised of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, is an international organization that encourages regional economic integration through the free movement of goods, services and people within the union.
The union has an integrated single market of 183 million people and a gross domestic product of over $4 trillion.
The bloc came into existence from January 1, 2015, after it superseded the Eurasian Economic Community that functioned from 2000 to 2014. The treaty on the establishment of EEU was signed by the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on May 29, 2014, in Astana, the Kazakh capital.