Russia announced on Wednesday that it is considering reduction or elimination of import duties on Iranian agricultural products – a measure that may have been meant to encourage larger exports of Iranian fruits and vegetables to Russia.
Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev told reporters that the final decision on this issue must be taken by the Eurasian Economic Union.
‘We are proposing serious steps to improve trade conditions for Iranians, meaning the reduction or, in some cases, even elimination, of customs tariffs, primarily for agricultural produce — fruits and vegetables,’ Sputnik news has quoted Ulyukayev as saying after a meeting with Iranian Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh on the sidelines of the 10th WTO ministerial conference in Kenya.
The minister added that the introduction of low customs tariffs for Iran would not violate WTO regulations.
Russian leaders have cited Iran as a possible new source of supply after banning imports from Turkey and Europe, Press TV reported.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a raft of sanctions against Turkey in retaliation for the downing of a Russian warplane in Syria.
Moscow has also a ban in place against imports of fruit, vegetables, fish and dairy products from Europe, the US, Canada and Australia in retaliation.
On Wednesday, head of the Iran-Russia Chamber of Commerce Asadollah Asgarowladi said a Russian delegation will arrive in Iran soon to visit the country’s food production and processing facilities.
“Russia is willing to import Iranian agricultural goods, dairy products, vegetables and fruit,” the Tasnim news agency quoted him as saying.
“In view of the regional conditions and Western sanctions on Russia as well as the drop in trade relations with Turkey, we are trying to bolster our presence in Russian markets with a strategy of enduring connection,” Asgarowladi said.
Earlier this week, head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce Mohsen Jalalpour said President Hassan Rouhani has asked for President Putin’s intervention to facilitate exports of Iranian food to Russia.
“After a decade of trade relations, our food still faces limitations for entry into Russia,” Jalalpour said.