Economy, Domestic Economy

Tehran, Moscow Working to Strengthen Agro Ties

Tehran, Moscow Working to Strengthen Agro TiesTehran, Moscow Working to Strengthen Agro Ties

Russia’s Agriculture Minister Alexander Nikolayevich Tkachyov is scheduled to arrive in Iran on January 19 on an official visit to discuss ways to promote ties in agriculture and food sectors.

“During the visit, important steps will be taken regarding issuance of final permits for shipment of Iranian dairy to Russia and also reduction of customs tariffs on Iranian products,” IRNA quoted Iran’s Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei as saying.

Russia has recently turned to Iranian food products amid a drop in imports from Europe and Turkey.

Kremlin in August banned food shipments from Europe in retaliation for the imposition of sanctions by the EU against Moscow over Ukraine. The country later cut trade ties with Turkey following Ankara’s downing of a Russian warplane on the Syrian border late-November.

Much as Tehran has been eager to increase food exports to Russia during the past year, obstacles to trade, including transportation issues, high duties and Russia’s safety regulations prevented Tehran from reaching that target.

Russian food safety watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, lately declared some Iranian dairy and meat companies’ products are safe and both countries signed a protocol to start the shipments. Nonetheless, unlike fruits whose exports to Russia have recently gained momentum, dairy export have stalled.

Masoud Khansari, the head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mining and Agriculture, said on Tuesday about 500 truckloads of food products and fruits were shipped to Russia last week, adding that the first dairy and livestock consignment will be exported by the end of January.

“Russian authorities are supposed to make a final decision regarding Iran’s dairy shipments by January 20,” Sanaei said.

Earlier, Russia’s Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev announced that Kremlin may cut or cancel import duties on imports from Iran.

“We offer serious steps aimed at improving trade conditions for the Iranians, meaning a cut, and even cancellation of customs tariff, mainly for agricultural goods—vegetables and fruits,” he said.

Russia’s tariffs on Iranian imports on average stand at 18-20%, while tariffs as high as 35% are levied on some products, according to the director of Iran’s first exclusive trade exhibition in Russia, Ali Akbar Mirchegini.

  Trade Exhibitions

The exhibition will be held in Moscow during May 11-13 to help promote Iranian products in Russia, according to Mirchegini.

“Demand for Iranian carpet in Russia is high and we should take advantage of this opportunity,” he said, noting that Iranian companies active in food industry, tourism, technical and engineering services, pharmaceuticals, urban services and construction materials will offer their products and services in the upcoming event.

Russia held a similar event in Tehran back in December.

The Russia-Iran Trade and Industrial Dialogue, organized by the Russian government was described by the country’s Minister of Industries and Trade Denis Manturov as “a major step toward expansion of the two countries’ economic ties, which prepares the ground for [Russian companies’] cooperation with Iranian business”.

More than 50 Russian companies active in industries, energy and technologies participated in the December expo. Aviation, shipbuilding, rail industry, auto, energy, agriculture, steel industry and pharmaceuticals were among the industries Russia promoted in Iran.

  Aras Potential

A conference was held in Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone on Thursday to explore Iran-Russia trade potential and ways to broaden bilateral economic ties.

Participants at the conference stressed the FTZ’s potential in expanding trade with Russia with regard to its proximity to Commonwealth of Independent States, which can in turn act as a gateway to Russia.

Aras is the largest decentralized economic area within the borders of the Islamic Republic. It is located in northwest Iran and shares borders with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.