Economy, Domestic Economy

Tehran, Baku to Sign Agriculture MoU

Tehran, Baku to Sign Agriculture MoU
Tehran, Baku to Sign Agriculture MoU

The governments of Iran and Azerbaijan are preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding in the agricultural field including livestock trade, Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh told Azerbaijan’s Trend news agency on Friday during a visit to Baku.

Nematzadeh met with the Azerbaijani Minister for Agriculture, Heydar Asadov and discussed the opportunities for cooperation in the fields of food production, agricultural development and animal husbandry.

Nematzadeh added that the sides have agreed to sign a memorandum in this sphere, adding that the document is ready and will be signed by the agriculture ministers of the two countries soon.

He also said that fruit, vegetable and food exports to Russia and cooperation between Azerbaijani and Iranian companies in this sphere were among the issues discussed during his visit to the Azerbaijani capital Baku.

Prior to the top level meeting, Iranian officials met with with Russian counterparts to discuss the possibility of exporting food products through Azerbaijan, quicker than originally envisaged. In response, Russia presented Iran with a list of 60 types of fruits, vegetables and food products needed for Russia, according to ISNA.

The Iranian minister also said that the expansion of bilateral trade and economic relations were discussed during his visit.

Iran’s Chamber of Commerce previously stated that agricultural products are among the most profitable products exported to Russia in the first half the current Iranian year (March 21- September 22)

Iran exported $151 million worth of products to Russia in the same period, $80 million of which were agricultural products.

Russia banned the import of agricultural products from Europe in August in response to the sanctions imposed on Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine. Russia imported 11.8 billion euros ($14.69 billion) worth of agricultural and food products from Europe in 2013, according to official data published by the European Union.

Nematzadeh added that the expansion of economic relations between the two countries, joint investment and growth of bilateral trade turnover were among the issues discussed during the meeting with Azerbaijani representatives.

The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Iran stood at $220 million in 2013. Negotiations to increase the amount were also held during the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Azerbaijan on November 12.

The minister added that during the visit it was agreed to create a joint pharmaceutical company by Azerbaijani and Iranian companies.

Iran has been trying to build stronger relations with its neighbors including the Republic of Azerbaijan.

President Rouhani made a two-day visit to the country in mid November in a bid to expand avenues of trade and investment there.

The Rouhani administration’s plan to increase regional economic ties is seen as a means of watering down the impact of sanctions imposed on the country by the European Union and the United States in recent years over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

In late October, President Rouhani said that his administration has plans to build new relations with both regional and international countries, which could be performed even under sanctions.

On November 26, Ali Rabiee, the minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare, said that trade between Iran and Azerbaijan hovers at around $500 million a year, a level which he said could increase if bilateral ties are expanded.