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EghtesadOnline: Ukrainian former president, Viktor Yushchenko, announced that his country intends to expand economic ties with Iran, for which a Ukrainian delegation is negotiating establishment of financial ties with Iranian banks.

In a meeting with the head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Gholamhossein Shafei, in Tehran on Sunday, Yushchenko added that the National Bank of Ukraine proposed the idea of opening an Iranian bank in the country and is assessing which bank is ready for the process in this trip, ICCIMA’s official website reported.

The Ukrainian official noted that licenses for opening an Iranian bank in Ukraine have been issued and are ready to be granted.

“Hurdles on the way will be resolved step by step if both countries rectify their communications and information systems, and provide comprehensive economic information,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.

Back in November, representatives of the National Bank of Ukraine met with officials from the Central Bank of Iran to discuss all the technical issues for solving any banking problems. At the meeting, both sides agreed to establish direct correspondent relations between Ukrainian and Iranian banks.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Iran Serhii Burdyliak last May announced that Ukrainian bankers are mulling ways of undertaking money transfer with Iran such as currency swap.

The president of ICCIMA mentioned the multiple trips of governmental and private economic delegations to their respective countries, which he believes could be a promising start to expand relations.

Shafei announced that an economic delegation from ICCIMA, backed by the Iranian government, will visit Ukraine in October.

“After nuclear sanctions on Iran were lifted, the situation entirely changed and the possibility of resuming previous relations is on the table again. Therefore, in light of current potentials, ICCIMA is taking effective steps to make it happen,” he said.

The Ukrainian former president noted that after the disputes between his country and Russia, their ties in a number of sectors such as energy were cut off, therefore Iran could enter this market and expand its activities.

Shafei said Iran is seeking $200 billion worth of investment in oil and gas sectors so everything is ready to develop mutual ties in this sector.

Yushchenko also mentioned the great agricultural trade potential between the two countries, noting that Ukraine is willing to implement joint agricultural projects based on up-to-date technologies with Iran.

Ukraine’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Olga Trofimtseva announced in March that her country and Iran have all the prerequisites to reach $1 billion in bilateral agricultural trade within the next two or three years.

Following Yushchenko’s statement, ICCIMA’s president said cooperation in agriculture sector is one of Iran’s primary goals in its relations with Ukraine.

In May, Burdyliak told Financial Tribune that trade between the two countries stood at $1.5 billion in 2016, up 35% compared with the previous year. Ukraine’s agricultural exports to Iran made up close to $800 million of the figure.

In 2016, Iran was ranked sixth among main importers of Ukraine’s food and agricultural products. India was the largest importer of Ukraine’s farm products, followed by Egypt and China.

Shafei also believes that Iran and Ukraine could boost their cooperation in aviation, transportation, steel, electronic and energy industries.

Seeking to expand bilateral trades, Ukraine and Iran agreed in April to launch a test train to transport agricultural products.

According to Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelian, the test train may be launched in the summer of 2017.

At the end of the meeting, Yushchenko suggested that the Iranian delegation’s trip to Ukraine could be held in tandem with Iran’s specialized exhibition of export commodities in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, from September 12 to 15.

Iran banks Iran Ukraine trade Viktor Yushchenko