The preferential trade agreement with India could be signed by year-end as talks have entered “final phase”, Iranian envoy to India Ali Chegeni said on Wednesday. He also suggested putting in place a barter trade system with India beyond the existing rupee payment mechanism, saying it could be a way to get around the US sanctions on Tehran. “We could do barter trade with India, agriculture against agriculture, pharmaceutical against pharmaceutical and so on,” Chegeni said at an interactive session with Indian business organised by PHDCCI on Wednesday.
Asserting that the Chabahar port was a “golden gate” for India to reach out to central Asian countries and the West, Chegeni said opportunities were in plenty for the Indian firms at the strategic port. He said the railroad project Chabahar to Zahedan, which is close to Afghanistan, is likely to be completed by 2021. The envoy also said the Preferential Trade Agreement could be signed with India by year-end as talks have entered “final phase”. The fourth round of talks were held in Tehran in March this year and the next round will be held soon in New Delhi, he said.
The goods in each other’s countries will be very cheap after the PTA is signed, Chegeni said. He said the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between the two sides has been finalised and is awaiting final approval from Iran. Chegeni said trade between the two countries could grow to a USD 30-35 billion in the mid-term and USD 50 billion in the long-term. “Trade between India and Iran is complementary. Lot of opportunity is there to enhance trade. It should not be limited to rice, tea, oil and gas, beyond that there are thousands of goods which can be exchanged between the two countries,” he told reporters after the event.