Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)

Iran could soon join Russia-led free trade zone

The Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) could welcome Iran as a new member in May, according to Russia’s Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak.

“The move to enter into a temporary agreement making for a free trade zone to be set up between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union, which is currently at an advanced stage, will obviously trigger further development of our bilateral trade and expansion of investment cooperation,” said Novak, who is also co-head of the Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission.

Iran’s Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei told TASS earlier that work on a free-trade zone agreement between the sides that started in 2015 was close to completion.

A trade bloc established in 2015, the EEU is based on the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. It was later joined by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. In 2016, Vietnam officially became the first non-regional country to join the bloc. The union is designed to ensure the free movement of goods, services, capital and workers between member countries.

More than 40 countries and international organizations, including China, Indonesia and Israel, as well as some South American countries, have expressed interest in a free trade deal with the EEU. The trade bloc has also held negotiations with South Korea, Egypt and India.

In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Serbia could be also included in the EEU’s free trade zone in the future.

Russia-led EEU & Israel may ink free trade pact in 2017

The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will soon start talks with Israel on creating a free trade zone, said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

“Before the end of the year the first round of talks [on a free trade area creation] is scheduled with Israel. Negotiations are to start with Serbia and a number of other states,” Medvedev said during a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council.

According to the EEU Commission’s Minister of Trade Veronika Nikishina, Israel may sign a deal in 2017.

Israeli Minister Zeev Elkin said last December the country wants a free trade agreement with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union as soon as possible.

In February, Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergey Levin said Moscow and Tel Aviv were planning the agreement in the near future as they “aim at maximizing cooperation in terms of agriculture and new technologies; as well as creation of joint ventures.”

Russia is a traditional grain supplier to Israel and plans to broaden the range of exported agricultural produce, according to Levin. He added that Israel could increase trade with the EEU by six to eight percent, while Russia would see an increase in investment and technology transfer.

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