Iran, EAEU Negotiating on Permanent Free Trade Zone Deal: Lavrov
By Staff, Agencies
Following talks with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov informed a news conference that Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union [EAEU] have started negotiating a permanent deal on a free trade zone.
"Iran has been a party to an interim agreement on the liberalization of mutual trade for a long time, and now we have begun to negotiate on a full-fledged permanent agreement on a free trade zone between Iran and the EAEU. The benefits of this process are obvious for all its participants," Lavrov said, according to Tass.
In particular, Lavrov said that Russia welcomed the decision of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO], whose meeting was held on September 16-17 in Dushanbe, to begin the procedures for Iran's entry into the organization as its full-fledged member.
He further noted that Iran can already take part in the activities of the SCO, including in the format of a contact group on Afghanistan.
"The importance of this format is growing, and we are interested in using it effectively. Well, all other areas of the SCO's work - security, the war on terror, extremism, separatism, ensuring economic connectivity, transport connectivity - all of this fully meets the interests both the Russian Federation and Iran," Lavrov concluded.
An interim agreement on a free trade zone between the EAEU and Iran was signed on May 17, 2018 and entered into force on October 27, 2019. In 2020, trade between the EAEU countries and Iran grew by 18.5% compared to 2019, reaching $2.9 billion.
Russia accounts for the largest share of the EAEU trade with Iran [78.6%]. The share of Kazakhstan is 11.2%, the shares of Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan are 0.7%, 8.9% and 0.7% respectively.
At a joint press conference held in Moscow on Wednesday, the foreign ministers of Iran and Russia announced that they have talked about the enhancement of Tehran-Moscow relations, preparations for a presidential meeting, and regional developments as in Afghanistan and the Caucasus.