Israel is set to sign a free trade agreement with the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in the near future, according to officials in Moscow and Jerusalem.
Iran is also in advanced talks about creating a free trade zone with the union. However, each country would sign its own free trade agreement (FTA) with the union, which would mean that Jerusalem would not be able to trade freely with Tehran, or other states signing similar agreements.
Tehran’s ambassador to Moscow Mehdi Sanaei said that he expects the Iranian parliament to ratify the free trade agreement with the EAEU “in the near future”. “The agreement is very important for Iran… because it opens the gates to a big market for our country, and also opens the Iranian market to Russia and northern countries,” he said. In addition to Israel and Iran, the EAEU is expected to sign FTAs with Singapore, India and Egypt, too.
Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Industry Sergey Tsyb said World Trade Organisation member states currently use over 7,500 non-tariff measures such as quotas, licenses, restrictions and embargoes, on trade. “Therefore, in our opinion, it would be very productive if we actively move towards the conclusion of agreements on the free trade zone,” he said.
Israel is currently Russia’s 41st biggest foreign trade partner, with annual trade consistently growing and currently at US$ 2.5 billion. Israel currently has 41 FTAs including with the US, Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ukraine & others.