The Eurasian Economic Commission’s (EEC) trade minister said on Wednesday that the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is expected to hold informal meetings in June to study the possibility of forming a free trade zone with Iran.
“(The bloc) will start informal talks on a possible signing of a temporary free trade zone agreement (with Iran),” Veronika Nikishina said as cited by Sputnik.
She added, “(the deal) will benefit us in terms of reducing duties…these are informal consultations, in June, we will possibly start such consultations.”
On May 13, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mojtaba Khosrowtaj said the country had started to look into the possibility of launching free trade with the EEU.
The issue had been reportedly discussed in a meeting between Khosrowtaj and Nikishina in Moscow.
The EEU in May 2015 gave the initial go-ahead to signing a free trade agreement with Iran. Accordingly, a proposal to the same effect was approved by all members of Union in a meeting in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.
The EEU – an economic union of former Soviet states led by Russia to guarantee free transit of goods, services, capital and workers among members – has already said it is conducting similar discussions with several other countries including Egypt and Vietnam.
China and India have also already indicated their interest in joining a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union.
The EEU at its current capacity has a combined population of 170 million people and a gross domestic product of $2.7 trillion.
It unites Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia, with Kyrgyzstan becoming the latest member.
The bloc which began functioning on 1 January 2015 is being considered as a major economic force to challenge the might of the European Union and the US.
(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)