EghtesadOnline: Iranian Parliament’s Research Center has reviewed trade transactions between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union from the fiscal 2015-16 through to the last Iranian year (March 2019-20) in a recent report.
During the five years under review, Iran-EEU trade reached its highest level of $2.4 billion in the fiscal 2016-17 while the lowest was conducted in the year before (the fiscal 2015-16) with $1.08 billion.
Based on the report, which draws on figures from Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture’s International Affairs Department, Russia has been Iran’s main Eurasian trade partner over the five consecutive years under review.
Trade between Iran and the Eurasian bloc reached $2.12 billion in the fiscal 2019-20. Exports to and imports from Russia stood at $1.16 billion and $457 million respectively during last year.
The lowest amount of exports was made to Kyrgyzstan ($11 million) while Belarus with $12 million recorded the smallest export figure to Iran over the same year.
Iran-EEU trade hit $2.09 billion the year before (fiscal 2018-19) with exports to and imports from Russia standing at $1.34 billion and $280 million respectively. The lowest amount of exports was carried out to the neighboring Armenia with 422.6 million and the lowest import figure that year belonged to Kyrgyzstan with a total of $33.2 million.
Iran traded $1.56 billion worth of commodities with EEU member states during the fiscal 2017-18. Exports to Russia stood at $727 million while imports from the country reached $292 million. The lowest amount of exports was made to Kyrgyzstan with 6.1 million in the same year while Belarus accounted for the lowest export figure to Iran with $1.7 million.
Over the fiscal 2016-17, Iran-EEU trade amounted to $2.4 billion. More than $1.54 billion worth of goods were exported to Russia while imports from the country reached $219 million. Again the lowest amount of exports ($3.5 million) was made to Kyrgyzstan while Belarus with $2.5 million had the lowest amount of exports to Iran.
A total of 1.08 billion worth of products were traded between the two sides during the fiscal 2015-16, with exports to and imports from Russia reaching $517.4 million and $173.1 million respectively. Kyrgyzstan with $1.7 million was placed at the bottom of Iran’s list of EEU export destinations and Belarus with $4 million made the lowest amount of imports to the country over the period.
The Eurasian Economic Union member states include Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.
Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union signed a three-year provisional agreement in Astana on May 17, 2018, for the bloc to welcome Iran into EEU. The arrangement, which lowers or abolishes customs duties, is the first step toward implementing free trade between Iran and the five members of the union.
The average tariff set by EEU on Iranian goods as part of a preferential trade agreement stands at 3.1%, while the figure is 12.9% for EEU goods exported to Iran.
Iran and EEU have listed 862 types of commodities in their three-year provisional trade agreement. As per the deal, Iran will enjoy easier export terms and lower customs duties on 502 items and the same goes for 360 items from EEU member states.
EEU removed tariffs on the import of 11 Iranian agricultural and food products in April. It conveyed the decision to the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran in an official letter.
“These goods that can, from now on, be exported at a zero tariff include potato, onion, garlic, cabbage, carrot, chili, wheat, grains, rice and ready-to-eat meals for kids. The measure taken by EEU in these difficult times when the country is battling the Covid-19 crisis, in addition to economic sanctions, can help boost our production and exports,” Reza Nourani, the head of Iran’s National Association for Agricultural Products, was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.
Bilateral Trade Rising Despite Pandemic
EEU countries and Iran are increasing their volume of mutual trade, despite the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Eurasian Economic Commission.
For eight months of 2020, trade increased by 2% and exceeded $2 billion. The rise in imports from Iran by almost $230 million has made the main contribution to the growth, 24.kg reported.
Agricultural products constitute the bulk of mutual trade. Food products and agricultural raw materials accounted for about 80% ($939 million) of the volume of supplies from EEU states to Iran and similar goods accounted for most of the supplies from Iran to the union — 68%, or $575 million.
Fruits and nuts became the main drivers of import growth from Iran.
Int’l EEU Conference in Anzali
The International Conference of Eurasian Economic Union opened in the northern Iranian port city of Bandar Anzali on Tuesday.
The one-day conference explored the role of free zones in promoting regional relations.
Problems facing economic activists for customs cooperation with the EEU member states was also discussed in the conference.
The conference was hosted by Anzali Free Zone Organization.
Iran’s ambassador to Moscow said accession to the Free Trade Agreement with EEU can be an opportunity to reach a $300 billion-strong market.
“If we take a small percentage of this market, the country's economic needs will be met,” Kazem Jalali also said in an interview on Wednesday.
Referring to Iran’s low share of the Russian market, Jalali said, "Part of that goes back to our infrastructures; our railroads are not connected to Russia yet, and our ports have weaknesses in terms of sea route.”
He said much work has been done in this area in recent years, hoping to secure a better share in the neighboring country’s market.
Earlier, Jalali said the Rasht-Astara railroad will be a great means to expand Iran’s economic relations with Russia.
He said the railroad will connect Iran’s economy from the east to the west and the implementation of this project is crucial for the country’s economy.
Jalali noted that Russia has realized the importance of the Rasht-Astara railroad and is determined to utilize this route in the future.