Talks between EAEU, Iran on free trade zone may end by October – Ministry

Sputnik News– Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya said that negotiations between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Iran on a temporary free trade zone agreement could be finished by the next EAEU summit.

The negotiations between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Iran on a temporary free trade zone agreement could be finished by the next EAEU summit, scheduled for October 11, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya told Sputnik on Saturday.

“The next meeting of the EAEU at the high level is scheduled for October 11. We are hoping that by that time, we will already be close to finishing the talks and will start the procedure of signing the agreement on a temporary free trade zone between the EAEU and Iran,” Nebenzya said.

Nebenzya reminded that the previous round of the talks took place in Bishkek in early Aril, “but, unfortunately, the talks didn’t end in Bishkek, as the parties could not agree on their stands.”

“Trade talks are never easy. Representatives of the Eurasian Economic Commission spoke at the session of the Eurasian Supreme Economic Council, which also took place in Bishkek in mid-April, regarding the interim results of the negotiations. The presidents [of the EUEU member states] instructed the Eurasian Economic Commission to continue the dialogue,” Nebenzya said.

In April, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said that the negotiations continued, with Iran demanding from the EAEU more than intending to give in return. Shuvalov also assumed that the negotiations could end in May, but stressed that the quality of the agreement “must be of more concern” than the speed of reaching it.

Expert-level talks on a free trade area between Iran and the EAEU started in 2016. The consultations deal in part with issues raised by Iran’s lack of membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The EAEU, comprising Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, is an international organization that encourages regional economic integration through the free movement of goods, services, and people within the union.