Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country supports the move to extend an interim free trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Iran despite “confrontation” by the “collective West”.

Negotiations are proactively underway on a full-fledged free trade agreement between the EAEU and Iran to replace the current 2018 temporary pact, the Russian president, who is also one of the leaders of the UEE.

Putin made the remarks during a plenary session held at the first Eurasian Economic Forum which opened Thursday in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Heads of EAEU states participated in the forum via videoconference.

Putin said EAEU-Iran trade turnover increased by 73.5% to $5 billion in 2021 due to the current deal.

“Despite the confrontation unleashed by the so-called collective West, it is quite evident to all of us that many foreign partners have shown increasing interest in the activities of the UEE,” he said.

He said that Russia considers it appropriate to intensify negotiations on a free trade agreement with Egypt, start similar talks with Indonesia and explore the possibility of a preferential trade agreement with the Emirates. United Arabs.

The EAEU is a regional bloc made up of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Armenia, which seeks to optimize the flow of goods and services between its members.

The bloc, which began operations in 2015, has an integrated market of 184 million people and a gross domestic product of over $5 trillion.

In 2016, Iran proposed the creation of a free trade zone between itself and this economic bloc. After two years of negotiations, an interim agreement was reached and signed on May 17, 2018, within the framework of the Astana Economic Forum.

The value of trade between Iran and EAEU members exceeded $1.957 billion in the first five months of the previous Iranian calendar year (March 21 – August 22, 2021), marking a 96% growth in one year to the next.

The current agreement will expire on October 5, 2022. For this reason, the parties have recently started technical and expert negotiations to transform the CPA into a free trade agreement (FTA).

According to a statement by Alireza Peymanpak, Iran’s deputy trade minister who also heads Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization, Iran and the EAEU are expected to sign a free trade agreement in Iran’s eighth calendar month. of Azar (November 22-December 21).