Russia says Iran, regional bloc likely to sign free trade pact by year-end

Moscow expects that an agreement on a free trade zone (FTA) between Tehran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will be inked before the end of the year, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Alexey Overchuk has said.

“Now, indeed, the EAEU has come very close to concluding such an agreement with Iran. This issue was touched upon, including at the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council and received the support of the heads of government. Therefore, we are making progress. The agreement can be signed,” the Russian Deputy Prime Minister stated in an interview with TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

According to him, the EAEU is developing a number of FTA agreements with several more states, with which negotiations are also underway.

“[We are in talks with] Egypt, India, Indonesia, and the UAE. All these countries are friendly to us, they are growing markets, so respectively the economic center of the new multipolar world is moving in their direction,” Overchuk added.

He drew attention to the fact that even in a bilateral format, negotiations on free trade zones are “very difficult, and they take years.”

“Negotiators need to take into account a lot of different interests. In our case, the interests of all five EAEU member states, their businesses and consumers are involved here. All this should be taken into account by our negotiators. This is a complex process,” the deputy chairman of the Russian government concluded.

Member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

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