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Iran looking for expansion in trade with East Europe

Iran seeks to significantly increase its trade ties with countries in Eastern Europe.

Iran is planning to increase its trade relations with countries in Eastern Europe as a senior official says Tehran wants to capitalize on increase agricultural exchanges and barter trade with countries in the region.

Mehdi Safari, who serves as Iranian deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy affairs, said on Sunday that annual trade with eastern European countries is expected to significantly increase from $1 billion recorded over the calendar year to late March.

“The level of trade ties with certain countries of the region has increased by 300% to 350% compared to last calendar year,” Safari told IRIB News on the sidelines of a forum on trade between Iran and Eastern European countries in Tehran.

The official said Iran is planning to expand the existing barter arrangements with eastern European countries, adding that businesses can count on banking ties with certain countries of the region at a time US sanctions have restricted Iran’s access to international monetary system.   

He said Iran also relies on Eastern Europe for imports of certain equipment and machinery while the country is also trying to secure contracts for transfer of technology for those products.

Safari said countries like Bulgaria and Romania provide major routes for transit of Iranian export commodities to the heart of Europe, adding that Iran is intensively negotiating for agreements  that can allow easier visa access for Iranian truck drivers travelling on those routes.

Iran has relied on non-oil trade as a major source of earning hard currency in recent years as the country seeks to offset the impacts of US sanctions on its crude oil exports.

The country posted a record export figure of more than $53 billion last calendar year.

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