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Iran, Armenia agree to drop transshipment charges: Minister

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)
File photo shows trucks waiting at the border between Iran and Armenia.

Iran and Armenia have reached an initial agreement to lift charges incurred on cargo trucks passing through territories of the two countries, according to the Iranian transportation minister Mohammad Eslami who is in Yerevan for talks with senior Armenian government officials.

Eslami said on Monday after a meeting with Armenian Economy Minister Vahan Kerobyan that removing transshipment charges was meant to help Iran and Armenia expand their transportation and trade ties.

“To this end, we first drop the transshipment charges so that trucks of the two countries can travel easily and to reciprocally create conditions for removal of trade duties,” Eslami was quoted as saying by the official IRNA agency.

The minister said Iran is seeking to contribute to investment needed to build an industrial town in the Armenian free economic zone of Meghri, an idea he said would help further boost trade and economic exchanges between the two countries.

He said Iranian investors had visited the site dedicated to the construction of the industrial town in Meghri, saying large Iranian companies had held successful negotiations with Armenian authorities on the issue.

Eslami said that Iran eyes to significantly increase its investment in the Armenian transportation infrastructure, saying the contribution would cement Iran’s position as a major trade partner for Armenia.

Iran has increasingly used trade routes through Armenia since it signed a preferential trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in October 2019. Trade with Armenia, an EAEU member, and other countries in the bloc surged to $3.4 billion in the year to late March, according to figures by the Iranian customs office IRICA.  

The outcome of a war between Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan in late 2020 led to a boycott in Armenia of many imported goods from Turkey in a show of anger at Ankara’s support for Azerbaijan.

That has also led to an increased presence of Iranian businesses and products in Armenia, a country which relies on imports from many of its needs.

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