EFENur-Sultan

Kazakhstan and Iran want to increase bilateral trade in 2021 after a downturn in 2020, Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberi said on Wednesday.

"In 2020, trade between Kazakhstan and Iran was $237 million, dropping by 37 percent compared to 2019," Tleuberi said after meeting his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

He explained that the two ministers discussed ways to increase trade and develop economic ties between their countries, particularly in the fields of transport and agriculture.

"The importance of making full use of the potential of the Uzen (Kazakhstan) — Bereket (Turkmenistan) — Incheboron (Iran) railway, which allows fast access to the Persian Gulf and European, Russian and Chinese markets, was emphasised," the Kazakh diplomat said.

Tleuberdi added that Kazakhstan welcomed talks aimed at converting the temporary agreement signed between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union on the creation of a free trade zone into a full-fledged accord, which will increase trade between Kazakhstan and Iran.

Zarif in turn thanked Nur-Sultan for supporting the Iranian nuclear deal on the international stage and stressed the importance of cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union, made up of five former Soviet republics and led by Russia.

The head of Iranian diplomacy is in Kazakhstan as part of a tour of Central Asia that previously took him to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. After Kazakhstan, Zarif will continue his trip in Turkmenistan.

According to Zarif, Tehran has always made it a priority to improve relations with Central Asian countries, a region with which the Islamic republic has historical and cultural ties. EFE

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