The Russian deputy prime minister Alexei Overchuk said on Monday, that it’s possible to reach an agreement to establish a free trade zone between Iran, Russia and several countries covering the vast Eurasian region stretching from the borders of Eastern Europe to western China by the end of the year.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk said in statements to the agency that the talks between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, are in their final stages.
“We’re moving forward… We’re very hopeful that such an agreement will be signed by the end of the year,” he added.
The region and Iran gained additional importance for the Kremlin after the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which limited Russia’s foreign trade routes and forced it to search for markets outside Europe.
Despite the strengthening of relations between Moscow and Tehran since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the start of large purchases of Iranian-made drones to be used in attacking Ukraine, trade between the two countries hasn’t witnessed a significant increase.
According to Russian government data, the exchange rate of goods between Russia and Iran will increase by 20% in 2022.
The regional agreement with Iran is set to replace an interim agreement that already cuts tariffs on hundreds of types of goods.
Last November, Russia began swapping oil products with Iran, and last March, Tehran said it relied on huge amounts of oil and gas exchanges with Moscow.
Meanwhile negotiations are continuing between the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union regarding the establishment of a common market for gas, according to the Russian deputy prime minister.