North-South transport corridor could be key in developing Russian cooperation with Iran - Novak
TEHRAN. May 25 (Interfax) - The North-South transport corridor could become key to developing economic cooperation between Russia and Iran, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said at a meeting with representatives of Iran's business community.
"Russia is interested in creating the North-South international transport corridor. Its successful implementation, we believe, will give a powerful push to the development of trade with the Caspian basin and Persian Gulf. This is a landmark project that could become key for the development of our trade and economic cooperation," Novak said.
The trade turnover between the two countries jumped 81% to almost $4 billion, one of the highest figures in many years, he said. Trade grew by another more than 10% in the first quarter of 2022.
"Thanks to the efforts of the leaders of our countries, a path is being pursued to increasing trade, economic, logistics, investment, financial and banking cooperation, despite the unprecedented pressure that Russia is currently experiencing from unfriendly countries," Novak said.
He said special conditions are now taking shape for the countries to significantly expand cooperation and add momentum to the major projects that are already being implemented in Iran, such as the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and Sirik thermal power plant, and ensure new development.
"Despite the geopolitical situation, Russian currently has the reserves of strength needed for the further transformation of the economy and its growth. We are ready to continue implementing projects that have begun and to launch new ones," Novak said.
He said that comfortable conditions are being created for Russian companies to do business in Russia and in international trade.
"Together with our partners in the Eurasian Economic Union, almost 15% of Russian imports have already been exempted from import duties and this could become one of the stimulus measures for the development of trade and economic relations, cooperation and imports from Iran. Product certification and declaration procedures have been accelerated, control at the border has been simplified, and transport and logistics barriers are being removed. We need to continue to eliminate administrative barriers and simplify bureaucratic procedures," Novak said.
He said "additional budget investments" are being channelled "into Russian regions, sectors of the economy, major infrastructure projects - this is also an additional opportunity for cooperation with our businesses."
"Support measures for Russian businesses are constantly expanding and we are taking steps to expand border checkpoints. This will make it possible to increase freight traffic and accelerate imports of necessary products into the country," Novak said.
He also said a decision has been made to simplify state registration of important goods such as medical products, drugs and medical equipment.
Additional measures of support are being offered in the form of subsidized loans for companies in the agribusiness, manufacturing and trade sectors, and there are special programs to support systemic companies adversely affected by sanctions.
"Today we see a significant number of vacated market niches that could be filled by Iranian products, among others," Novak said.
"Russia has laid a course toward lifting restrictions in the way of imports, and in this regard establishing trade in national currencies acquires particular importance. The financial messaging system of the Russian Federation is currently one of the most reliable and it needs to be expanded," Novak said.