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Iran, Turkmenistan to set up joint trade center

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)
Iran and Turkmenistan will set up a joint trade center as they seek closer economic ties.

Iran and Turkmenistan will set up a major trade center that can facilitate ties between businesses in the two countries amid efforts to deepen economic relations between the two neighbors.

The establishment of the Tehran-Ashgabat Trade Center was discussed on Tuesday during a meeting between Iranian trade minister Reza Fatemi Amin and deputy head of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan Batir Atdayev.

Atdayev and a senior economic delegation from Turkmenistan arrived in Tehran earlier in the day while accompanying President Serdar Berdimuhamedov for a two-day official visit to Iran.

Fatemi Amin said setting up a joint trade center is in line with efforts by Iran and Turkmenistan to reach a preferential trade agreement (PTA) under which the two countries can significantly increase the volume and value of their bilateral trade.

The Iranian minister said Iran and Turkmenistan will discuss the list of goods that could enjoy lower tariffs under a PTA between the two countries within the upcoming months.

Iran has expanded its economic and energy ties with Turkmenistan since a new administration came to office in Tehran in August last year.

The two countries have revived arrangements for swap of natural gas from Turkmenistan through Iran. Turkmenistan has also allowed increased transit of cargo between Iran and Central Asian countries through its territory.

Iran’s transportation minister Rostam Qassemi said on Tuesday that Iran and Turkmenistan plan to increase the volume of cargo transited through their territories.

Qassemi said during a meeting with Turkmenistan’s top transportation official Mammethan Chakyev that transit of cargo between the two countries had increased by nearly 50% over the calendar year to late March.

Reports in the Iranian media said labor ministers of Iran and Turkmenistan had also signed a memorandum of understanding earlier in the day to increase cooperation between the two countries.

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