Officials in Tehran said a temporary agreement has been signed with the Eurasian Economic Union – that comprises Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia – to reduce trade tariffs between Iran and the Union’s member states, Press TV reported.
The agreement was signed by Iran’s Minister of Industries, Mines and Trade Mohammadreza Nematzadeh and EEU’s Trade Minister Andrei Slepnev.
Nematzadeh later told reporters that the agreement should be seen as a serious step toward the expansion of trade relationships between Iran and the EEU.
He added that Iran wants to develop a lasting trade relationship with the EEU, and expressed hope that the agreement that was signed on Thursday could soon turn into a long-term pact between the two sides.
Nematzadeh further emphasized that Iran considers the expansion of trade relations with its northern neighbors as a strategic priority, stressing that agreements like what the country signed with the EEU today could help the promotion of relations with the Union’s member countries in all areas.
Slepnev, for his part, emphasized that the EEU is determined to boost relations with Iran through measures such as the conclusion of the agreement over preferential trade tariffs.
He said the agreement was the first step toward the materialization of free trade between Iran and the Union, stressing that the EEU is pursuing an ambitious plan for the expansion of its trade ties with Iran.
Slepnev said the Union’s current mission is to remove all the barriers on the way for the supplies of competitive products to international markets.
The Eurasian Economic Union, which is based in Moscow, is an economic union of states located primarily in northern Eurasia. A treaty over the establishment of the EEU was signed on 29 May 2014 by the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, and came into force on 1 January 2015.
The regional trading bloc introduces the free movement of goods, capital, services and people and provides for common transport, agriculture and energy policies, with provisions for a single currency and greater integration in the future.
In April 2015, Russia invited Iran to join the Union and reports said at the time that expert talks over Iran’s membership to the Union have already started.
The Union – that has a GDP of $2.4 trillion and a foreign trade turnover of above $900 billion – says on its website that it has been created to promote trade, boost cooperation among its member states and promote their stable development in order to raise the living standards of EEU nations.