Economy, Business And Markets

Iran, Russia Finalize Historic Customs Agreement

Iran, Russia Finalize Historic Customs Agreement Iran, Russia Finalize Historic Customs Agreement

The Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration and the Federal Customs Service of Russia finalized a historic deal by signing "the Customs Cooperation Agreement” on Tuesday.

Signed by IRICA’s deputy head, Behzad Shiri, and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Malinin, it has been dubbed as the biggest bilateral customs agreement between the two neighboring countries.

Based on the agreement, Russia will prioritize the clearance of Iran’s agricultural exports. IRICA, in return, has pledged to provide Russia’s customs with information on the details and value of its exported products to speed up delivery procedures, state-owned IRNA reported.

The customs administrations of the two countries also agreed to share and exchange customs information and data before the entry of their products to the other party's country.

IRICA will also post the customs value of its imports and exports on its website in Russian. This would inform exporters and importers of the customs value of their declared goods.

Transit Development

In addition, the two sides vowed to expand their road, sea and rail transit, such that the facilities allocated to Customs Cooperation Agreement would also apply to the transit sector.

The two will extend the rail route via Azerbaijan Republic and focus on the southern Russian ports of Makhachkala, Astrakhan and Olya and Iran’s Astara, Anzali, Amirabad and Noshahr ports.

Iran took Russia up on the idea of creating a regional customs organization with the participation of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Community.

The managing director of Iran’s Customs Administration, Masoud Karbasian, predicts that the implementation of the $30-billion Customs Cooperation Agreement would lead to a tenfold increase in economic exchanges between Iran and Russia.

Routes into Russia

Moscow wants to ease customs procedures for Iranian agricultural products and reduce the costs of their transportation, said the visiting Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergey Levin in a meeting with Iran’s Agricultural Minister Mahmoud Hojjati on Tuesday.

“According to our estimates, the cooperation agreement will halve the costs and time of transportation, speed up the preparation process of customs documents and legalize current deliveries. The basis of the newly-drafted project of Customs Cooperation Agreement is transparency in provision of information," he said.

"We are willing to import Iranian products directly and legally, rather than having them through an intermediary country.

Russia's Republic of Dagestan in the North Caucasus is the main receiving center of Iranian exports. Therefore, its port of Makhachkala and Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea are expected to be key ports of entry for Iranian goods.”

Hojjati said the pivotal core of Iran-Russia cooperation is trust, adding that “without trust, you cannot have long-term plans”.

He also called on Russian exporters to cooperate with Iran in services sector such as improving the packaging of Iranian agricultural products.

Also present at the meeting was the head of the Republic of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdullatipov. He hailed the Customs Cooperation Agreement as a “very good initiative”.

“We fully support the cooperation agreement. A huge logistical center could also be set up in Dagestan to further distribute agricultural produce to other Russian regions,” he said.

In November, Russia and Iran agreed on developing economic ties, with Moscow promising to provide a $5 billion loan to Tehran for promotion of industrial cooperation. The loan is expected to boost trade between the two countries from the current $1.6 billion to $10 billion in the-not-too-distant future.