EAEU free trade zone negotiations with Iran close to end

ASTANA – Negotiations between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Iran to create a free trade zone are in their final stage.Iran-flag-with-EREU-logo

“We have been conducting quite intensive negotiations with Iran for over eight months,” said Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Minister for Trade Veronika Nikishina, reported Kazinform. “We have had seven rounds of difficult negotiations. We have practically completed these negotiations. The result of the negotiations consists of three parts. One of them is the agreement text, which is the regulatory framework that will determine the rules of the game. This is very important due to the fact that Iran is not a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). That is why the trade rules write-up between the union and Iran are a key element and we think we have produced a good enough text where Iran is ready to take on a very large package of trading strategies equivalent to the WTO.”

The other two sections of the agreement are on commodity and agricultural goods, she added.

“Negotiations are almost complete. Now, it remains agreeing on individual goods, as there is no mutual consent of the parties yet. This is probably the biggest problem that we, together with our Iranian partners, [will face] and will soon stop at that stage of the agreements (…), giving us a good chance to report to the presidents of our countries about the completion of the negotiations and ask for mandates for signing agreements by October of this year,” she added.

If agreements cannot be reached, the negotiations will be postponed.

“If we do not complete the negotiations in the next few days, but insist on continuing to improve the quality of the agreements, then we will proceed to a somewhat slow stage of negotiations and this agreement cannot be signed in the near future,” she said.

EEC Collegium Chairperson Tigran Sarkisyan earlier noted the formation of a free trade zone remains the most important intellectual constructive dialogue between the Eurasian integration association and Iran. The nation is among several countries which are top priorities for the EAEU in terms of creating free trade. At the same time, union country presidents have repeatedly expressed their support for deepening the relations between the EAEU and Iran.