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EghtesadOnline: A preferential trade agreement between Iran and India is expected to be signed by the yearend, as talks have entered “final phase”, says Iranian Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni.

“The fourth round of talks were held in Tehran in March this year and the next round will be held soon in New Delhi,” he said.

“The goods in each other’s countries will be very cheap after the PTA is signed.”

According to the Hindu Business Line, the envoy noted that a double taxation avoidance agreement between the two sides has been finalized and is awaiting the final approval of Iran, Financial Tribune reported.

Chegeni pointed out that despite US economic sanctions against Iran, trade between India and Iran increased to $17.5 billion in 2018 from $13.5 billion the previous year. 

“There is scope for bilateral trade to rise to $30 billion soon and then to $50 billion,” he was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India after an interactive session with Indian businesses organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday. 

“Trade between India and Iran is complementary. A lot of opportunity is there to enhance trade. It should not be limited to rice, tea, oil and gas; beyond that there are thousands of goods which can be exchanged between the two countries.”

He also suggested putting in place a barter trade system with India beyond the existing rupee payment mechanism, saying it could be a way to get around the US sanctions on Tehran.

The Iranian ambassador said a barter trade mechanism for broad categories of goods can easily be implemented, such as fertilizers, drugs and vehicle parts. 

European countries, which had negotiated the 2015 Iran nuclear pact with the US, have been critical of Washington walking out of the deal and have worked out a payments mechanism to bypass US sanctions known as Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges or INSTEX.

Chegeni said INSTEX is akin to the arrangement Tehran was looking to put in place with India.

He added that Iran will give multiple entry visas for a year to Indian businesses to facilitate travel and trade.

 

Iran India PTA preferential trade agreement