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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s trade with member states of the Eurasian Economic Union stood at $1.6 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year (March 21-July 22), registering a 93% growth in terms of value year-on-year, according to Hossein Kakhaki, director general of International Affairs Bureau of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.

Iran’s exports hit $358 million, registering a 46% YOY growth.

Russia with $188.92 million was the biggest destination of Iranian exports to EEU during the period. Armenia with $83.04 million, Kazakhstan with $53.39 million, Kyrgyzstan with $24.29 million and Belarus with $6.58 million worth of imports stood next.

Imports from EEU stood at $1.25 billion during the four months to July 22, the official told IRNA.

Russia with $1.06 billion was the biggest exporter and was followed by Kazakhstan with $178.72 million, Belarus with $8.29 million, Armenia with $2.24 million and Kyrgyzstan with $216,000 worth of exports to Iran.

Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union member states traded 8.68 million tons of commodities worth $3.4 billion during 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. The figure accounts for 31% of overall trade,” Mehdi Mirashrafi was also quoted as saying by IRNA.

The official noted that imports from the bloc exceeded 6 million tons worth $2.36 billion during the period, showing a YOY fall of 1% in value, adding that the figure accounted for 69% of the total trade.

“The decline in trade was due to restrictions concerning the Covid-19 pandemic as well as economic sanctions imposed on the country.

Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture recently reviewed Iran’s trade with the Eurasia Economic Union from the fiscal 2016-17 to fiscal 2020-21.

The study shows the highest volume of trade between the two sides during the period was in the fiscal 2019-20, and the lowest was in the fiscal 2016-17. 

The highest trade balance was registered in the fiscal 2020-21 with a deficit of $93 million.

Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union 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 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 the EEU member states. 

The union removed tariffs on imports of 11 Iranian agricultural and food products last year. It conveyed the decision to the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran in an official letter.

“The goods exported at 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.

Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union held their first round of negotiations on upgrading their preferential trade agreement to a free trade deal in Tehran on July 19. 

According to Hamid Zadboum, the head of Trade Promotion Organization, the parties have agreed upon most terms considering the outlines of free trade agreement.

Noting that three more meetings have been scheduled by the end of 2021, the official said the next meeting will be held by Sept. 22 and heads of negotiating teams will hold specialized meetings in between until an agreement is reached.

“As per the free trade agreement, the partner countries will gradually remove tariffs and duties on most imports and exports in the near future to expand business opportunities. One and a half years into the preferential trade agreement between EEU and Iran, economic exchanges have increased significantly despite the outbreak of Covid-19,” he was quoted as saying by TPO’s news portal. 


Iran Eurasian Economic Union Hossein Kakhaki