EghtesadOnline: Iran became a permanent member of the Council for Rail Transport of the Commonwealth of Independent States during the council’s 70th meeting held in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, on May 14-15.
“Being a permanent member for Iran, which was previously an observer member, will help further expand rail transit between the country and Central Asian states. It will also have positive effects on the operations of the International North-South Transport Corridor that stretches from Europe to Southeast Asia,” said Saeed Rasouli, Iran’s deputy minister of roads and urban development and head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, who represented Iran in the Helsinki meeting.
INSTC is a major transit route designed to facilitate the transportation of goods from Mumbai in India to Helsinki in Finland, using Iranian ports and railroads, which the Islamic Republic plans to connect to those of Azerbaijan and Russia.
Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Latvia, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Iran are now permanent members of the CIS Council for Rail Transport, according to Financial Tribune.
Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union are looking to substantially increase trade, as the two sides signed a three-year provisional agreement on May 17, 2018, for the bloc to welcome Iran into EEU.
The arrangement is the first step in implementing free trade between Iran and five members of the union. It lowers or abolishes customs duties, setting off a three-year process for a permanent trade agreement.
Iran traded 4.04 million tons of non-oil commodities worth $2.09 billion with the five EEU member states, namely Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, in the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2019), registering a 22.96% and 34.08% increase in tonnage and value respectively compared with last year’s corresponding period.
Latest data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show Iran’s exports totaled 1.55 million tons worth $607.43 million during the year, indicating a 0.07% and 0.14% decline in tonnage and value respectively year-on-year.
Imports stood at 2.49 million tons worth $1.48 billion, up 0.53% and 0.73% in tonnage and value respectively YOY.