"Delicate work is underway to fine-tune the document; we are putting the finishing touches on it. I hope that we will complete this process within a month. And we plan to report the results to the prime ministers in Sochi at the beginning of next month [during a summit of the prime ministers of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Eurasian Economic Union]. After that, some formal procedures will be performed. I think there is a very high degree of probability that we will sign the agreement with Iran this year,"Eurasian Economic Commission Trade Minister Andrei Slepnev was quoted as saying by the SB. Belarus Segodnya state-run media outlet.
The free trade zone agreement with Iran is able to dramatically increase mutual trade volumes, he added.
The EEC minister expects bilateral trade to rise from $6 billion to $20 billion per year in the mid-term prospect within five to seven years after the agreement is signed, stressing that these figures are realistic.
"Iran is a very serious partner, a large country. It is possible to say that we are Iran's first major free trade partners. This country has quite high entry barriers. Iranian partners are offering us unprecedented conditions for accessing their market, conditions that we need to take advantage of," he said.
Slepnev also announced plans to finalize negotiations on a free trade zone with Egypt this year.
"As far as we understand, the Egyptian side is also willing to do so," he said.