| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

Russia says regional free trade pact with Iran possible by year-end

In an interview with the state TASS agency, Alexei Overchuk, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, stated that negotiations between the Eurasian Economic Union (consisting of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia) and Iran are reaching their concluding phase.
“We are moving forward,” Overchuk said. “We very much hope that such an agreement can be signed by the end of the year.”

Both the region and Iran have taken on additional significance for the Kremlin after Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion in Ukraine limited Russia’s foreign trade routes and forced it to look for markets outside Europe.

However, despite tighter ties between Moscow and Tehran since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and began big purchases of Iranian-made drones to attack the country, trade between the two markets have grown only moderately.

Russian-Iranian commodity turnover rose 20 percent in 2022, according to government data, two-thirds the overall growth rate Moscow saw with China, another key partner with whom Russia has expanded political and economic alliance in the past two years.

The regional agreement with Iran would replace and expand an interim pact that already provides a reduction in customs duties on hundreds of categories of goods.

In November 2022, Russia started swapping oil products with Iran and in March, Tehran said it counts on “huge volumes” of both oil and gas swaps with Moscow.

  • Arab News