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Iran, Japan sign deal to speed up customs clearance

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)
Photo shows Iranian customs office chief Mehdi Mir Ashrafi (R) and Japan ambassador to Iran Aikawa Kazutoshi posing with documents they have signed in the headquarters of the Iranian foreign ministry in Tehran on August 22, 2021 to speed up customs cooperation between Iran and Japan.

Iran and Japan have signed a first document on customs cooperation as the two countries seek to speed up cargo clearance to help boost their future trade relations.

A senior official in the Iranian customs office (IRICA) said on Sunday that the document had been signed earlier in the day between IRICA chief Mehdi Mir Ashrafi and Japan ambassador to Tehran Aikawa Kazutoshi.

IRICA’s international cooperation office chief Hossein Kakhaki said that the deal, which he said has been based on models accepted by the World Customs Organization, would help Iran and Japan speed up customs clearance procedures.

“By signing this document, the two countries would ease and expedite customs exchange and enquiry procedures,” said Kakhaki.

The agreement came as Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was in Tehran for meetings with Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raeisi and other senior officials.

The trip comes as Iran and Japan plan to ramp up economic and trade cooperation in the years to come mainly to offset losses suffered in recent years because of American sanctions on Tehran.

Iran has sought to increase its trade relations with Asian countries since the United States pulled out of an international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program and imposed sanctions on the country.

IRICA authorities signed a customs agreement with China earlier this year. The deal allows Iranian businesses to enjoy easier customs clearance services in China while Iran also commits as part of the deal to provide similar services to designated Chinese businesses.

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