Armenia PM in Iran to push Iran-Eurasian Economic Union FTA

Armenian prime minister is looking to carry out serious preparations so that Iran joins the economic union sooner. The EAEU agreed last May to create a free trade zone with Iran. It’s now up to Tehran to accelerate the work.

27 February 2019
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Armenian prime minister is looking to carry out serious preparations so that Iran joins the economic union sooner. The EAEU agreed last May to create a free trade zone with Iran. It’s now up to Tehran to accelerate the work.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (middle left), accompanied by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, holds talks with Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan (middle right) (Photo: president.ir)

Armenian prime minister is holding talks with Iranian authorities in a bid to fast-track the process of Iran’s joining a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Unión.

“The EAEU-Iran Free Trade Agreement creates new opportunities for trade and economic cooperation,” said Armenian Premier Nikol Pashinyan in an interview with Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency (IRNA) ahead of his visit to Iran. “In the coming months, serious preparations are needed,” he stressed.

Pashinyan was received by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Wednesday morning in a ceremony where Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was also present.  

Head of the Armenian government called the FTA between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Unión (UAEU) “new component” in Iran-Armenia relations. “I mean the EAEU-Iran free trade agreement, which will open up new prospects for trade and investment between participating countries,” Pashinyan was cited as saying by IRNA.  

Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the head of the EAEU, ratified late last November the unión’s decision to create a free trade zone with Iran.

The Eurasian Economic Unión, comprised of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, decided last May in Kazakhstan's capital of Astana that Iran joint its free trade zone following 18 months of negotiations.      

Each participating country needs to ratify the decision in its parliament before the deal enters into force. The Iranian parliament is also discussing the FTA with the Russia-led trade bloc.

The agreement is intended to last four years, during which the EAEU will grant Iran tariff concessions on 502 harmonized commodity codes.

Iran will be granted tariff preferences for an extended list of food products, in the first place, vegetables, fruit, dried fruit as well as construction materials, dishware, carpets, some articles made of non-ferrous metals, according to the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC).  

The average level of import duty rates of Iran for industrial goods will decrease from 22.4% down to 15.4%, and that of the Union – from 8% down to 4.7%, the commission says. Iran will reduce duties for agricultural goods on the average from 32.2% down to 13.2%, and the Union – from 9.6% down to 4.6%.

Earlier, President of the joint Iran-Russia Chamber of Commerce, Tizhush Tabah told Iran Chamber Newsroom that Iran needs to smoothen its internal import and export regulations in a bid to be able to be a full member of the union. 

The Armenian prime minister expressed hope that “legal formalities will be completed in the near future, and the practical results will not keep us waiting for a long time.”

Iran’s exports to Armenia stood at a little bit over 132 million dollars during the past 11 months, according to the latest figures published by the Iran Customs Administration (IRICA). The data show 42.37% rise in comparison to the same period last year.     

The Eurasian Economic Unión, established in 2015, is an economic union of states located primarily in northern Eurasia.

Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia are the current member states of the union, with a combined GDP of $2.2 trillion, $ 3.1 trillion of industrial products, and $ 877 billion trade with non-member countries, equal to 7.3 percent of world export and 3.2 percent of world import. Together, member states have 183 million inhabitants and cover an area of over 20 million square kilometers.

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