The Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) has decided to set up a joint research group to study the expediency of reaching a Free Trade Area (FTA) agreement with Iran, the Commission said on August 24.
Furthermore, at its last meeting the Council discussed further cooperation with Israel, including the possibility of starting talks over an FTA agreement. A decision was also made to develop trade and economic relations with South Korea and a plan approved for the measures to implement an FTA agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Vietnam.
That talks were being held with Iran emerged in May this year. "The discussion focused on the prospects of reaching an FTA agreement with Iran. This is a new topic and is being announced for the first time. The relevant initiative was expressed by Iran not so long ago. It gained support both at the expert level and at the level of the EEU members' government agencies," EEU Trade Minister Andrei Slepnev said at the time.
He said that decisions were expected shortly to formalize the negotiating process. "We have agreed to discuss the initiatives with Armenian businesses and Armenian regulators very soon to devise directives and approaches towards this sort of talks, given that Armenia is the only EEU country that has a land border with Iran, as well as great experience in trading with this country. We understand the specifics Iran has in regulating its trade and are counting on the experience of our Armenian colleagues," Slepnev said.
At a meeting of the heads of state of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Moscow on May 8 Armenian President Serzh Sargsian called for closer relations between the EEU and Iran.
"We consider it necessary to continue broadening the geography of cooperation towards the south as well, in particular, by establishing closer ties with Iran," the Armenian president said.
According to Sargsian, the focus should be on large regional infrastructure projects that connect southeastern Asia and the Gulf states with the EEU countries.
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