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Russian-Iranian economic conference: Caspian neighbors mull ways to boost trade

Russia and Iran have agreed to hold a finance and banking conference in Tehran, reports Russian Federal Business Agency “Economics Today.”

Organizers of the event are the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) and Iran-Russia Joint Chamber of Commerce. The conference participants will discuss ways to overcome obstacles to development of the two countries’ trade relations such as the need to convert currency. The idea of the conference belongs to representatives of Iran’s business cycles. Among other issues, visa facilitation, optimization of trade management and logistics, as well as storage of goods are planned to be discussed at the event.

Six trade delegations from Iran will visit Russia within 2015. Iran looks forward to sign an agreement of cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union and cancel customs fees for the Iranian goods, the business agency says.

Russia supplies metals and metal products to Iran (accounting for 54% of Russia’s total export to Iran), wood (7%), and cereal (6%). Iran, in turn, exports food products (85%) to Russia, which is very important amid Russia’s embargo on western foodstuffs, the source reports.

Earlier, Iran’s Ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanai said his country was working with Russian partners to boost mutual trade. The Iranian envoy said high customs fees for Iran (the country supplies goods without any additional privileges) may impede the effective cooperation of Iran and Russia. The diplomat said the local business communities have repeatedly asked the government of Iran to help reducing the customs fees on the example of the effective cooperation of Russia with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Iranian producers stand ready to supply Russia with the products that fell under embargo: meat, flowers and fruits, the diplomat said.

Recently, Russian experts have been paying closer attention to the level of mutual trade of the two Caspian neighbors, saying it is insufficient. The commodity turnover of Russia and Iran may reach 2-2.5 billion dollars in 2015, ITAR-TASS reported Rajab Safarov, Director General of the Russian-Iranian Business Council, RF CCI, as saying earlier on January 29. Safarov expressed concern that the economic cooperation of Russia and Iran is “practically zero.” Last year, Iran’s export to Russia totaled 260 million dollars, with Russia’s export to Iran totaling about 700 million dollars. Safarov supposed that last year the Russian-Iranian commodity turnover, probably, shrank to a nullity

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