The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in June may start informal talks on forming a free trade zone with Iran, Eurasian Economic Commission Trade Minister Veronika Nikishina said, Sputnik reported May 25.
"[The decision was taken] to start informal talks on a possible signing of a temporary free trade zone agreement, which will precede a comprehensive and all-inclusive agreement, but will benefit us in terms of reducing duties...these are informal consultations, in June, we will possibly start such consultations," Nikishina told reporters on the sidelines of the Astana Economic Forum.
In March, Russian Deputy Economic Development Minister Alexei Likhachev said that a dedicated Joint Study Group is expected to decide on the format of the Free Trade Area (FTA) between the EEU and Iran during the first half of 2016, adding that the format would not be in a pure form.
Decisions on forming a free trade zone are taken on the basis of results produced by the study group, Nikishina said, adding that the economic commission, which acts as the EEU's executive body, will receive the mandate to start talks if the FTA is found to potentially bring significant benefits.
In late December, it was reported that the EEU, comprising Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan together with Iran were beginning to work on a free trade zone agreement.
EEU countries supply wheat, barley, corn, vegetable oils, rolled steel, trucks, timber, paper, synthetic fibers, electricity and radar equipment to Iran, according to the Eurasian Economic Commission, a permanent regulatory body of the EEU. Iran supplies vegetables, fruit, cement and petroleum products to EEU countries.