Ardakanian Underscores EEU Membership
EghtesadOnline: Joining the Eurasian Economic Union will help Iranian energy companies expand in the region. To achieve the goal, closer cooperation is crucial between the government and the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, the energy minister said Tuesday.
Reza Ardakanian was addressing a meeting of representatives from the private sector involved in water and power sectors at the ICCIMA premises in Tehran, IRNA reported.
“Presence in regional markets and neighboring countries in the water and power sector demands a focused and harmonious approach,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
“Preparations have been made for Iran to join the Eurasian Economic Union. A government bill to this effect has been sent to the parliament and is expected to be ratified soon.”
The minister referred to the EU member states, especially Russia, as strong markets for local manufacturers.
“A meeting will be held in Iran in late June during which cooperation with the North Caucasus region will be discussed,” Ardakanian said.
The Eurasian Economic Union is a political and economic union of countries in central and northern Asia and Eastern Europe. The EEU founding treaty was signed by leaders from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, and came into force in 2015. Kyrgyzstan and Armenia joined shortly after.
The EEU has an integrated single market of 183 million people and a gross domestic product of over $4 trillion.
It promotes free movement of goods, capital, services and people and provides for common policies in the macroeconomic sphere, transport, industry and agriculture, energy, foreign trade and investment, customs, technical regulation, competition and antitrust regulation.
Currently Iran’s MAPNA Group is exporting to Iraq, Indonesia, Oman, Pakistan and Syria and has said it is ready for building technical and engineering cooperation with other countries.
It is a conglomerate of 41 companies involved in development and execution of thermal and renewable power, oil and gas, and railway transportation projects as well as manufacturing of main equipment.
Joining the EEU can pave the way for MAPNA and other companies to promote their goods in a bigger number of countries.
Following months of negotiations with Russia, Iran signed an agreement on the establishment of a free trade zone with the union states last April in St. Petersburg.
As per the deal, in the initial phase, Iran will sell 350 items to the bloc, while 180 items from the EEU will be available in Iran.
Earlier this month, Ardakanian defended the agreement and asked the parliament to pass the bill soon.
"The EEU is a single market of over 180 million people and an important and active economic union in the region. Russia alone has imported $250 billion worth of goods and products from around the world," he said.
"Vietnam is the only (non-member) country that joined the EEU free trade agreement, and the second will be Iran. We are trying to join the economic union before the next Iran-Russia economic commission meets," he added.
The agreement should benefit Iran in various ways, inter alia, securing tariff reductions for exporting goods to the member countries.
“Iranian goods will become more competitive and the agreement will help improve employment. On the other hand it will attract investments to the northern and southern regions in Iran that will be eligible for import tariff exemptions,” the minister said.