The 14th meeting of Iran-Russian Joint Economic Committee wrapped up on March 6th with signing a cooperation document by Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Masoud Karbasian and Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin in Moscow.
According to IRNA, the two sides inked a couple of agreements for boosting cooperation in different areas including oil and gas, transport and transit, geology and mining, as well as conducting joint research and development projects in the field of underground resources and launching joint venture in thermal power projects.
Free trade zone agreement in May
Russia and Iran can sign the document that is expected to become a blueprint for free trade between Iran and the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) countries in May, TASS quoted Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak as saying in the Joint Economic Committee meeting on March 6th.
“The move to enter into a temporary agreement making for a free trade zone to be set up between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union, which is currently at an advanced stage, will obviously trigger further development of our bilateral trade and expansion of investment cooperation,” Alexander Novak, who is the Russian chairman of the joint committee, affirmed. The Russian Energy Minister added that he hopes “the document will be signed in May.”
The work on a free trade zone between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union began in 2015, though the signing has been repeatedly postponed.
Historically, Iran-Russia relations have oscillated from cooperation and friendship to rivalry and conflict influenced by the international developments and self-interests of both countries.
The head of Iran-Russia Joint Chamber of Commerce Asadollah Asgaroladi believes that relations with Russia are very important, although the volume of Iran’s exports to Russia remains low.
“Last (Iranian) year (ended March 20, 2017), Iran exported USD 400 million worth of commodities to Russia while the value of imports exceeded USD 1.5 billion, meaning that the share of Iran’s exports to Russia is no more than 20% of bilateral trade, which is not acceptable,” Asadollah Asgaroladi mentioned.