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Iranian minister says Tehran, Minsk working to boost trade ties to $1 billion

The undated photo shows production line of an Iranian pharmaceutical company. (By IRNA)

Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Seyed Reza Fatemi Amin says negotiations have been held between Iran and Belarus to increase the value of annual trade from $40 million to $1 billion.

"We have negotiated on the trade volume of $1 billion. Right now the capacity of ties between the two sides is $40 million due to lack of good connections," Fatemi Amin told Press TV in a live interview on Friday.

Heading a delegation, the Iranian minister is in the Belarusian capital of Minsk to attend the 15th Iran-Belarus joint economic commission.

Pointing to the capacities of Belarus in manufacturing mineral and agricultural equipment, he said Iran is in need of such machines and that initial agreements have been reached to receive the needed equipment from Belarus.

On the other hand, the minister said, Iran has capacities in manufacturing cars and medicine that can meet the needs of Belarus. According to him, an Iranian medical company started its activities in the European country on Thursday.

Fatemi Amin also said Iran can act as a suitable path for Belarus to access markets of Southeast Asian countries.

The level of ties can be improved in various fields such as industrial and agricultural machinery, which can help the sides reach the defined target, he said. The two countries have achieved a "good understanding" of the capacities of the other side, the minister said.

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Elsewhere, answering a question about the effects of sanctions, the Iranian minister said sanctions act as a hindrance but cannot stop the activities; and such embargos will even have positive effects in the long run.

Iran managed to register a $120-billion trade volume last year under severe economic sanctions, he said, adding that remaining steadfast under pressure will eventually put the country in a better position.

Pointing to the sanctions imposed on Belarus, the minister said Tehran and Minsk can fulfill the needs of one another in a host of areas.

The 14th edition of Iran-Belarus joint economic commission was held in Tehran five years ago.

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Iran, EAEU bloc continue free trade deal talks in Russia

The minister also pointed to talks held with Belarus, a member state of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), about Iran's bid to join the group.

Iran and the EAEU, which comprises Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, have been in preferential trade arrangements since November 2019.

Iran and the EAEU have held four rounds of face-to-face talks as well as 15 virtual meetings since the second half of 2020 to discuss free trade agreement.

Iranian customs office figures show bilateral trade with the EAEU rose 66% in value terms in the year to late March to stand at $5.634 billion.

The figures show Iranian exports to the EAEU rose 12% year-on-year to reach $1.17 billion over the calendar year.

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