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Iran, EEU discuss free trade pact

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi discussed a free trade pact between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) during a visit to Moscow.

Iran on Thursday discussed a free trade pact with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) thus moving a step close to joining the Russia-led single market. 

The agreement was reviewed in St. Petersburg during a meeting between the visiting Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi and EEU Minister of Trade Veronika Nikishina. 

Vaezi, who co-chairs Iran-Russia Economic Cooperation Commission with Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak, told reporters that his discussions with Nikishina had helped the proceedings for Iran to join the EEU.

He described as important any effort to expedite the proceedings for Iran to join the Union.

The Iranian minister further emphasized that both sides should show more flexibility in the discussions, stressing that Tehran was ready to do so to help move toward a final agreement.   

Elsewhere in his remarks, Vaezi emphasized that EEU officials would be invited to visit Iran, stressing that the country was ready to announce a timetable for the next round of negotiations in Tehran. 

He said Iran had already drafted a list of 200 items for trade with the EEU, adding that more items could be included in the future. 

Vaezi said Iran and the EEU would implement a regime of preferential tariffs for three years after signing a mutual free trade agreement.  He added that both sides would later move toward free trade. 

Nikishina, for her part, said the EEU was satisfied over the progress of talks with Tehran. She expressed hope that the final text of the agreement with Iran would be presented for discussion during the next meeting of the presidents of Iran and Russia.   

The EEU is an economic union of former Soviet states led by Russia which is meant to guarantee free transit of goods, services, capital and workers among member states.  

The bloc which began functioning on 1 January 2015 is being considered as a major economic force to challenge the might of the European Union and the US.

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