India says it is interested in signing a preferential trade agreement with Iran when sanctions are lifted against Tehran, a press report says.
“We have a good relationship with Iran. It is a good market for us in the long term,” the Economic Times newspaper quoted a “senior” commerce department official as saying.
The official said the agreement, India’s first trade pact with a West Asian country, is at a “conceptual stage”, explaining that both the parties have shown interest in it but no negotiations have begun yet.
“Iran is working towards WTO accession. In the build-up to that, they have shown interest. There are no negotiations at present. From India’s perspective, the sooner the better that we sign an agreement,” the official said.
The Financial Times said a preferential trade agreement with Iran would offer India a foothold to tap other markets in the region.
It put India’s exports to Iran in 2015 at $4.17 billion and its imports from the oil-rich country at $8.95 billion.
India is the second importer of Iranian crude oil after China. Its exports to Iran include automobile components, chemicals as well as agricultural commodities such as Basmati rice and sugar.