BelTA reports that Mr Marinich headed the Belarusian delegation during the talks over an Iran-EAEU provisional free trade agreement in Tehran on 13-14 June. The sides reviewed the catalogs and groups of agricultural, mechanical engineering, and industrial products that can enjoy mutual preferences.
During the visit the Belarusian delegation met and negotiated with top executives of Iran Veterinary Association (IVA) and the Office for International Affairs and Specialized Agencies at Iran’s Agriculture Ministry. The supplies of dairy and meat products were the centerpiece of the discussion.
“This refers to the supplies of fat-free powdered milk, whole milk powder, and butter in the first place. At the moment these Belarusian products are virtually not present in the Iranian market. However, ahead of the negotiations a Iranian delegation paid a visit to Belarus and showed interest in importing Belarus’ dairy products. We now need to pursue a wise pricing policy to make sure our products are competitive in terms of price with the goods from Australia, New Zealand, and India,” Mr Marinich remarked.
He emphasised that Belarus does not sell meat into Iran either. “We have consulted with IVA about starting supplying Belarusian beef. We have agreed that each side will set up a working group to resolve all the questions that may arise. Iran does not object to these supplies. The most important thing is that the products should correspond to Iran’s veterinary requirements,” Mr Marinich pointed out and added that the Iranian side inquired about Belarus’ system of quality control, standards and requirements.
In July the two working groups will meet in Iran to discuss the inspections of relevant Belarus’ companies by Iranian specialists. “The Iranian market holds great promise. With a population of 80 million, Iran produces 10 million tonnes of milk a year. This is why the country imports dairy products. It also imports $400 million worth of beef annually. Belarus is interested in advancing into the Iranian food market, especially if its products will enjoy certain preferences, namely the reduced customs duties as envisaged by the Iran-EAEU free trade agreement,” Mr Marinich underlined.
The Belarusian delegation at the Tehran negotiations comprised representatives of the Agriculture and Food Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As a result of the talks, the sides signed a protocol on the approval of the provisional free trade agreement between Iran and the EAEU. The sides also agreed to resume discussing the lists of goods and tariffs at the next round of negotiations and exchange proposals within a month.