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BNE Intellinews | 2 January 2024
Iran, EEU sign historic free trade agreement
Iran signed a groundbreaking free trade agreement with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union on December 25. The signing ceremony, held in St. Petersburg, marked the culmination of over two years of negotiations and expert deliberations, Donya-e Eghtesad reported.
Abbas Aliabadi, the minister of industry, mining, and trade, led the Iranian delegation at the signing. The deputy prime ministers of the EEU member countries were also present to endorse the pact on behalf of the union.
The final round of negotiations leading to the agreement’s text was concluded on December 24. Post-signing, the agreement now awaits legislative approval in the parliaments of all six nations to become law and operational.
The Iran-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement promises to eliminate tariffs for a substantial 87% of traded goods. Both parties will compile a negative list, comprising items deemed sensitive by one party, exempt from tariff elimination. The remaining 13%, classified as the negative list, includes goods whose tariff reduction could adversely impact Iran’s domestic industry or agriculture. Conversely, the EEU countries will also present their list of sensitive goods, ensuring equitable regulation.
The initial steps toward this landmark agreement were taken in 2017 with the signing of a draft agreement on preferential export tariffs in Yerevan. Subsequently, in 2018, a temporary agreement was signed, reducing tariffs for a range of goods over three years. With an 82% increase in Iran’s exports of preferential items in the first year, negotiations were initiated in 2020 to elevate the temporary agreement to a comprehensive free-trade deal.
After numerous coordination sessions and over 30 video conferences, complemented by six rounds of in-person negotiations, the agreement was successfully signed on December 25. This historic accord represents Iran’s most extensive trade deal.