India seeks preferential trade deal with Iran

India says it is interested in signing a preferential trade agreement with Iran when sanctions are lifted against Tehran, a press report says. 

“We have a good relationship with Iran. It is a good market for us in the long term,” the Economic Times newspaper quoted a “senior” commerce department official as saying.

The official said the agreement, India’s first trade pact with a West Asian country, is at a “conceptual stage”, explaining that both the parties have shown interest in it but no negotiations have begun yet.

“Iran is working towards WTO accession. In the build-up to that, they have shown interest. There are no negotiations at present. From India’s perspective, the sooner the better that we sign an agreement,” the official said.

The Financial Times said a preferential trade agreement with Iran would offer India a foothold to tap other markets in the region.

It put India’s exports to Iran in 2015 at $4.17 billion and its imports from the oil-rich country at $8.95 billion.

India is the second importer of Iranian crude oil after China. Its exports to Iran include automobile components, chemicals as well as agricultural commodities such as Basmati rice and sugar.

By Press TV