Iranwire – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk has said that a free trade zone deal between Iran, Russia and four former Soviet republics is possible by the end of the year.
Overchuk told the state TASS agency on June 19 that talks between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union, which groups Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, are in their final stages.
“We are moving forward,” he said. “We very much hope that such an agreement can be signed by the end of the year.”
The agreement would expand an interim pact that already provides a reduction in customs duties on hundreds of categories of goods.
Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have forced Moscow to look for markets outside Europe.
Amid tighter ties between Moscow and Tehran, commodity turnover between the two markets rose by 20 percent last year, according to government data.
In November 2022, Russia started swapping oil products with Iran. Tehran said in March it expected “huge volumes” of both oil and gas swaps with Moscow.