By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Cooperation between Kazakhstan and Iran is characterized by such vital areas as joint decision of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, regional cooperation, issues of ensuring a short and profitable route for Kazakhstan goods to the World Ocean, as well as trade and economic ties.
Based on the bill ratifying the interim agreement on the creation of a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and Iran, Tehran promoted imports from Kazakhstan.
The vice-premier of the national economy of Kazakhstan, Serik Zhumangarin said that in accordance with the agreement, the Iranian side has reduced import customs duties by 864 goods, Kazinform reports.
He added, it is planned to reduce customs duties on beef and mutton from 26 percent to 5-10 percent, for legumes from 55 to 5-10 percent, for vegetable oil from 20 to 10 percent.
Kazakh industrial goods such as rails and steel products will enter the Iranian market with reduced customs duties from 5 to 4 percent and from 20 to 15 percent, respectively.
The share of these goods in the structure of Kazakhstan's imports to Iran is more than 50 percent.
Zhumangarin noted the agreement will enter into force 60 days after the completion of the ratification procedures and will be valid for three years, IRNA reported.
He further said that the volume of mutual trade between Kazakhstan and Iran reached $ 516.3 million in 2018, adding that it includes $426.7 million (82.6 percent) of Kazakhstan's exports to Iran, and $89.5 million of imports from Iran.
The Vice-Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan, Gulmira Isaeva reported on a Memorandum concluded in January between Kazakhstan, Russia and Iran on the supply of wheat and its products to Iran.
She noted, despite the fact that Iran itself fully satisfies its wheat needs in the amount of about 12 million tons, there are large processing capacities in the republic - 24 million tons of grain products.
Isaeva added that Iranian business expressed interest in supplying Russian and Kazakh wheat for capacity utilization and joint re-export to third countries. The minister stressed that Iran’s regional neighbors provide up to 70 percent of world wheat consumption.
Thus, for the EAEU countries, opportunities are open for the transit of grain products through Iranian territory and the use of swap mechanisms. It means the supply of products to the northern border of Iran, and the sale of Iranian products from the southern border for third countries under external contracts.
Isaeva also said that Kazakhstan is ready to increase supplies of wheat to Iran from 500,000tons in 2019 to a million tons in 2020.
Diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Iran were established on January 29, 1992.
Kazakhstan’s exports to Iran accounted for more than 82 percent of trade turnover - $ 207.2 million in January-May 2018. This figure is 36 percent higher than in the same period of 2017.
Kazakhstan supplied barley, wheat, rolled iron, meat, sunflower seeds and rapeseed to Iran.
As for imports from Iran, the figure exceeded $ 44 million. The growth was 76 percent compared with January-May 2017.
Kazakhstan imported pistachios, dates, apples, plastics, tableware and meat processing equipment from Iran.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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