EAEU Views Armenia as Bridge to Iran

Flags of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union. (Source: Armenpress)
Flags of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union. (Source: Armenpress)

Flags of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union. (Source: Armenpress)

YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has made a note of the opportunities of active cooperation available with Iran, according to Board Member and Minister in charge of the Development of Integration and Macroeconomics of Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Tatyana Valovaya.

“We are greatly interested in Iran and we observe opportunities to deepen economic ties with it. I have to mention that while we were discussing the potentials and advantages that Armenia can receive becoming member of the EAEU, we realized very well that one of those directions would be the deepening of cooperation between Iran and the EAEU,” Valovaya mentioned.

She added that now that Armenia is an EAEU member state, the opportunities to cooperate in the spheres of transport, logistics, trade and economy with Iran rise.  “Of course, lifting sanctions from Iran creates new, extra opportunities for cooperation. I am convinced that we will witness expansion of economic ties between Iran and EAEU in the near future,” Valovaya concluded.

Meanwhile, the EAEU announced that it will soon launch free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Israel.  Valovaya stated that, “We have a free trade agreement with Vietnam. The second country that will sign FTA with us, most probably, will be Israel, as we have already completed the preparatory phase and the presidents have taken a decision over launching FTA negotiations with Israel.”

Valovaya also discussed how the EEC has ruled out plans for adopting a common currency, citing economic reasons as a serious impediment.

Valovaya said that such a switchover, if approved, would lead to negative economic consequences at the current stage.

Instead, the official stressed the need of deepening macro-economic cooperation which she said could be possible in case of using national currencies in the overturn among the member states of the EAEU.

When asked by Tert.am about the timeframes of employing the system and Armenia’s chances to make the payments for natural gas in the Russian Ruble (which was proposed repeatedly before), Valovaya said that all the member states of the bloc can make any payment in their national currencies provided they establish the necessary economic grounds.

“To make payments in the national currency possible we need to create economic grounds. That doesn’t mean we are willing to ban any side from trading with a third country and making the payment in the respective currency. What we want is just to facilitate the interstate calculations for the member states,” she noted.

Valovaya said she knows that the Armenian partners are now actively working towards realizing the idea.

“We are aware that Armenia carries out most of its exports in another currency, which creates extra problems. With the emerging need of currency conversion from [US] Dollar to Ruble and the Armenian Dram to Dollar, the process becomes long drawn-out. So we are now actively considering the possible tools to make the transfers in national currencies possible,” she said, adding that the plan is likely to be realized in the nearest future.

She added that the EAEU has received applications from 40 countries over starting FTA negotiations. “Currently we observe opportunities of starting negotiations with India, Egypt and a number of other states,” Valovaya concluded.

The EAEU is an international organization for regional economic integration. It has international legal personality and is established by the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union, signed on May 29, 2014, which entered into force on January 1, 2015.

The EAEU provides for free movement of goods, services, capital and labor, pursues coordinated, harmonized and single policy in the sectors determined by the Treaty and international agreements within the Union.

The Member-States of the EAEU are the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation.

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