EghtesadOnline: The first exclusive exhibition of Eurasian Economic Union member states, also known as “EURASIA EXPO 2021”, is scheduled to be held at Tehran’s International Fairgrounds from July 9 to 12.
A total of 100 companies from the EEU bloc will be attending the event alongside their Iranian counterparts to showcase their latest products and services in the fields of banking and finance, technology transfer, factory, silo, port, wharf, oil tanker and ship construction, steel, cement, animal feed production, edible oil and agricultural production,” the event’s executive, Alireza Jafari, was quoted as saying by Iribnews.ir.
The official added that B2B meetings will be held between representatives of EEU member states and Iran’s Chamber of Commerce on the sidelines of the exhibition.
“A memorandum of understanding is slated to be signed between the Eurasian Economic Council and Iran Chamber of Cooperatives to increase collaboration in different commercial areas,” he said.
The Eurasian Economic Union member states include Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.
Iran and EEU signed a three-year provisional agreement in Astana, Kazakhstan, 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 PTA came into effect on Oct. 27, 2019.
The average tariff set by EEU on Iranian goods as part of the 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 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 imports of 11 Iranian agricultural and food products last year and conveyed the decision to TPO in an official letter.
“Goods that can 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.
Free Trade Talks
Negotiations on a full-fledged free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and Iran are set to start in the near future, the press service of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) told BelTA.
The announcement followed a recent meeting between Chairman of the EEC Board Mikhail Myasnikovich and Iran's energy minister and co-chairman of the Russian-Iranian standing intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation, Reza Ardakanian, which took place on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
“The EAEU made the appropriate decisions regarding the launch of the negotiations in December 2020. The EAEU member states are currently finalizing the mandate for the negotiations,” Myasnikovich said.
“We expect to complete the necessary procedures and prepare for the talks by the end of June 2021.”
EAEU is another acronym referring to the Eurasian Economic Union.
Myasnikovich noted that the interim free trade agreement between EAEU and Iran has already become an effective tool for advancing cooperation.
“In 2020, the EAEU-Iran trade totaled $2.9 billion, growing by 18.5% over 2019. In Q1 2021, EAEU’s export to Iran rose by 43.5% year-on-year and import increased by 20%. The EAEU-Iran trade went up by over a third and totaled $1.15 billion. This was possible, thanks to our joint work,” he added.
The parties also spoke in detail about the most promising infrastructure projects of EEU member states and Iran, including the International North-South Transport Corridor, and about other joint initiatives.
Trade in Review
Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture recently reviewed Iran’s trade with the Eurasia Economic Union from fiscal 2016-17 to fiscal 2020-21.
The study shows the highest volume of trade between the two sides was in fiscal 2019-20 and the lowest was in fiscal 2016-17.
The highest trade balance was registered in the fiscal 2020-21 with $93 million in deficit.
Latest data show Iran and EEU traded more than $380 million worth of goods during the first two months of the current Iranian year (March 21-May 21).
According to Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Iran’s exports to EEU stood at $180 million during the period, showing a 66% rise compared with the similar period of last year.
EEU member states exported $201 million worth of commodities to Iran during the same period, indicating a YOY decline of 46%, Mehr News Agency reported.
As such, Iran’s trade deficit with the Eurasian bloc during the two-month period stood at $21.6 million, indicating a 91.9% improvement compared with the corresponding period of last year.
According to the TCCIM report, Iran’s exports to all five EEU members saw growth while imports from these countries, Belarus excluded, declined.
Iran and EEU member states traded a total of 8.68 million tons of commodities worth $3.4 billion in the last Iranian year (March 2020-21), according to the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
“Iran exported close to 2.68 million tons worth $1.05 billion to EEU states over the period, registering a 2% decline in value compared with the year before,” Mehdi Mirashrafi was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
Imports from the bloc stood at 6 million tons worth $2.36 billion during the same period, showing a year-on-year fall of 1% in value.
“The decline in trade was due to restrictions concerning the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the economic sanctions imposed on the country.”
Russia was Iran’s biggest trade partner among EEU member states.
Imports from Russia stood at 5.24 million tons worth $2.11 billion (89% of Iran’s total imports from EEU) as exports reached 1.06 million tons worth $509.91 million (48% of overall exports).
Russia was followed by Kazakhstan with 741,510 tons worth $201.21 million of exports to Iran and 337,075 tons worth $167.99 million of imports.
Next was Armenia with $17.32 million and $304.55 million worth of exports to and imports from Iran respectively.
Belarus came next with $31.22 million and $21.11 million worth of exports to and imports from the country respectively.
Kyrgyzstan came last with $2.57 million and $45.85 million worth of exports and imports respectively.
Based on figures released by Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union member states traded $2.1 billion worth of non-oil commodities during the last Iranian year, which shows an 11% decline compared with the year before.
Based on the report, Iran’s non-oil exports to EEU amounted to around $1.1 billion, registering a 4% fall compared with the previous year. Imports from the Eurasian bloc stood at around $1 billion, showing a 16.5% decrease YOY.
Iran’s exports at preferential tariffs stood at $256 million, accounting for close to 25% of the country’s exports over the period.