TEHRAN- During a meeting between Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) Mohammad Rezvani-Far and Minister in Charge of Customs Cooperation of the Eurasian Economic Commission Eldar Alisherov in Tehran on Saturday, the two sides explored the ways for increasing customs cooperation to boost the bilateral trade.

During this meeting, Rizvani-Far said: “Although the memorandum of understanding with Eurasia is for three years, the formalities of turning this memorandum into a long-term agreement will be completed soon, and we will follow up on these agreements through approval in Iran’s parliament.”

According to the IRICA head, Iran's trade with Eurasian countries is 3.3 billion dollars annually, which includes over 1.5 billion dollars of Iran's exports to Eurasia and more than 1.7 billion dollars of imports from Eurasia.

He also said: “After the agreement and facilitation, our trade exchanges with this union increased by 32 percent in the previous year, and we have set a target in the customs that the figure will increase from 3.3 billion dollars to 10 billion dollars. I think it is quite possible.”

“In the goods transit sector, our trade volume was 1.8 million tons, of which more than one million tons of goods were transited from Eurasia through Iran, and over 700,000 tons of goods were transited from Iran to Eurasia”, the official further announced.

Minister in charge of Customs Cooperation of the Eurasian Economic Commission, for his part called the meeting with the IRICA head a success and said: “We hope that our three-year temporary agreement with Iran will turn into a long-term agreement in the future and more privileges will be considered between this union and Iran.”

He expressed hope that the trade exchanges between Iran and this union be doubled and a trade agreement between the two sides be arranged as soon as possible.

In mid-January, the head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) said the long-awaited free trade agreement (FTA) between the Islamic Republic and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is going to be put in effect by mid-Iranian calendar year 1402 (late September).

Alireza Peyman-Pak made the remarks after a meeting with Minister in charge of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission Andrey Slepnev in Tehran.

“In the last two and a half years, more than 30 rounds of negotiations have been held with the representatives of five member countries of the Eurasian Union, and thank God, we reached a final agreement in this round,” the TPO head said.

According to Peyman-Pak, during the meeting, the two sides concluded their negotiations and the draft of the agreement was finalized.

The official noted that the list of the commodities to be included in the FTA has been also finalized, saying: “The two sides made the final talks today, according to which 90 percent of the items were put on the green trade list with the rest 10 percent enlisted as forbidden items.”

He noted that the FTA will have a significant positive effect on the volume of trade between the two sides.

In the meantime, the EAEU trade minister said that the five members of this union attach special significance to cooperation with Iran.

Slepnev said that Iran is a close ally of Russia and other EAEU member countries. He also believed that the preferential trade agreement between the two sides led to an expansion of economic cooperation with Iran. 

Despite all the restrictions caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, EAEU’s trade with Iran has grown by 20 percent over the past year, the official said.

Iran and EAEU reached a preferential trade agreement in 2018 based on which about 862 commodity items are currently subject to preferential tariffs.