Minister: Tehran, Ankara should have Free-Trade Agreement

Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mines, and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh called for closer economic relations between the Islamic Republic and Turkey, saying that the two countries should take measures to sign a free-trade agreement (FTA).

Nematzadeh and Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci in a meeting in Ankara discussed the latest efforts to boost bilateral trade and highlighted the importance of an FTA between two countries.

FTAs involve cooperation between at least two countries to reduce trade barriers – import quotas and tariffs – and to increase trade of goods and services with each other. An FTA reduces tariffs but does not abolish them completely.

The Iranian minister at the meeting highlighted the efforts to develop the current preferential trade agreement (PTA) between the two neighboring countries and said, “We have a goal higher than developing the PTA… and definitely intend to take steps to sign an FTA.”

Zeybekci, for his part, said the signing of the PTA has been a major stride to expand economic relations between the two countries, expressing the hope that the two nations would also reach an FTA.

In April last year, Iran and Turkey signed eight memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various areas.

The cooperation documents were signed in a ceremony in Ankara on April 16, 2016, attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyib Erdogan.

They covered a range of fields, including higher education, social security, plant maintenance services and standardization.

Iran and Turkey have ramped up efforts in recent months to boost bilateral trade after implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a lasting nuclear deal between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

The JCPOA took effect on January 16, 2016, terminating all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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