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Opinions & Interviews

17 May 2018

Matyushevsky: EAEU-Iran provisional FTA will facilitate export strategy of Belarus

Matyushevsky: EAEU-Iran provisional FTA will facilitate export strategy of Belarus

MOSCOW, 17 May (BelTA) – The provisional free trade agreement signed by the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Iran in Astana on 17 May will facilitate the export strategy of Belarus, Belarus’ First Vice Prime Minister Vasily Matyushevsky said at the signing ceremony of the document, BelTA learned from the press service of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EAEC).

“The first unique experience of building multilateral relations with Iran is quite promising. We have reached very good mutual results,” Vasily Matyushevsky noted.

According to him, the trade between Belarus and Iran has been expanding since 1993. In 2017 the mutual trade between Belarus and Iran rose three times. The trend remained in place in the first quarter of 2018,” Vasily Matyushevsky noted. In addition to the traditional trade and economic ties, the countries have been developing investment cooperation. Belarus invests in mechanical engineering of Iran. Iran is implementing several major logistics projects in Belarus.

The document is special for the EAEU since it implies two stages of creating a free trade zone, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tigran Sargsyan said. In the next three years the parties are set to agree on a full-fledged FTA which will cover almost the entire product range. The trade may increase 1.5 times in the future.

“The provisional agreement includes an initial list of goods, the import duties on which will be reduced or zeroed in mutual trade after the agreement comes into force. The agreement covers half of mutual trade," Tigran Sargsyan noted.

Tigran Sargsyan called several major advantages in the EAEU countries and Iran after the agreement comes into force. First of all, entrepreneurs will be able to save on customs duties. The list for the EAEU includes meat and fat-and-oil products, certain types of confectioneries and chocolate, cosmetics, electronic and mechanical equipment. Iran will enjoy tariff preferences on a wide list of food products, primarily vegetables, fruit, dried fruit, and also building materials, crockery, carpets, some goods of nonferrous metals. With regard industrial products, Iran will reduce the average rates of import duties for the EAEU member states by 7% (from 22.4% to 15.4%), the EAEU member states will decrease duties on these goods for Iran by 3.3% (from 8% to 4.7%). Iran will cut import duties on farm products by 19% (from 32.2% to 13.2%) and the EAEU by 5% (from 9.6% to 4.6%).

The second advantage is a transparent and predictable trade environment. “The provisional agreement provides for compliance by the parties with the fundamental principles of international trade. The document formalizes the scheme similar to WTO rules, which imposes obligations and requirements on Iran though the country is not a WTO member,” Tigran Sargsyan stated. The parties also agreed not to apply unreasonable non-tariff measures restricting trade in respect of goods which are listed in the agreement.

The agreement was signed by Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Tigran Sargsyan, Belarus’ First Vice Premier Vasily Matyushevsky, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, Kazakhstan First Deputy Prime Minister Askar Mamin, Deputy Prime Minister Zamirbek Askarov of Kyrgyzstan, Russian Acting Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari of Iran.

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