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Iran, Syria sign free trade agreement

Iran has signed a draft agreement on free trade with Syria in a move which can boost the country’s economy in the face of Western sanctions.

The deputy commerce ministers of Iran and Syria inked the draft on Friday and a final agreement is expected to be signed by Iranian Commerce Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari and Syrian Economy and Trade Minister Lamia Assi.

The 23-article document applies to a wide variety of commodities in the fields of industry and agriculture, and is applicable to any product as along as 50 percent of it is produced in either country.

“This agreement can increase the 400-million-dollar volume of commercial exchange between the two countries to USD 2 billion,” IRNA quoted Ghazanfari as saying.

He added that the promotion of commercial relations with Syria will give Iran access to new markets, given the imposition of sanctions by the West against the country.

The Iranian minster said under the agreement, all existing tariffs would be reduced to four percent within a five-year period, adding that the deal does not interfere with the partnership of either side in economic cooperation with other states.

Meeting national standards, preserving genetic and historic repertoires, facilitating transit services and creating a joint committee are among the other issues included in the agreement.

The meeting between the Iranian and Syrian commerce and economy ministers in Tehran was also attended by Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.

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