EghtesadOnline: Iran and Belarus traded $14.5 million worth of agricultural products during the 10 months to Oct. 31, 2017, to register a 58% increase compared with last year’s corresponding period.
This was announced by Belarusian Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Director of the Veterinary and Food Control Department Ivan Smilgin on the first day of the 14th session of Iran-Belarus Economic Commission held in Tehran on Monday, IRNA reported.
Iran’s major agro exports to Belarus include fruit and vegetable, while it imports pastries, juice and chocolate from the East European country.
The volume of Iran’s agricultural exports is larger than its imports from Balarus, according to Financial Tribune.
Smilgin noted that Iran has invested in trout farming projects in Belarus.
The two-day session of Iran-Belarus Economic Commission concluded on Tuesday.
The session was co-chaired by Iran’s Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari and Belarusian Industry Minister Vitaly Vovk.
Vovk stressed the need to expand economic ties with Iran and remove obstacles to financial transactions, Belta news agency reported.
“Although Belarus and Iran enjoyed good relations in the past few years, the countries have not fully realized their potential,” he said in a meeting with Shariatmadari.
Echoing similar remarks, the Iranian minister said the current annual $160-million trade between the two sides is not satisfactory.
“As we have good political relations, we need to try to strengthen our economic ties as well,” he added.
In January-November 2017, bilateral trade amounted to $142.6 million, which was up 3.2 times against the figure during the same period of 2016.
The Belarusian minister pointed to the remarkable increase in 2017 trade and called for expanding cooperation in the fields of mechanical engineering, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and education.
According to Shariatmadari, the two sides can initiate cooperation in the joint production of trucks, electric bus and cars for export to Eurasia.
Vovk also hoped that the Eurasian Economic Union and Iran will sign a free trade agreement in the near future.
Iran and the EEU are working on a preferential trade agreement, hoping that the deal would help traders overcome the ongoing hurdles and compensate for the recent drop in Iran’s exchanges with the five member states of the bloc.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking in the Iran-Armenia Business Forum in Yerevan in December 2017, announced that Iran and the union have finalized a PTA deal and the presidents of the six countries involved are expected to sign the agreement in the near future.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration’s records indicate a 47% drop in Iran-EEU non-oil trade during the three quarters since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21-Dec. 21) compared with the corresponding period of last year, as trade between the two sides stood at $995 million during the period.
Belarus’s state-owned ZAO Meat-Dairy Company and the Iranian company IMEX recently signed an agreement to promote Belarusian agricultural products in the Iranian market.
According to the head of the department for foreign economic affairs at the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry, Aleksei Bogdanov, Belarus will initially be promoting beef and butter, followed by milk powder, milk formula, cheese and other dairy products.
The two sides have agreed to arrange a business forum in Iran at the end of February with the participation of officials of the Agriculture and Food Ministry of Belarus, as well as representatives of the meat and dairy industries of the two countries.