Iran, EU launch talks over customs coop.

News ID: 3728706 -
TEHRAN, Aug. 01 (MNA) – A visiting EU delegation met with Iranian customs officials to examine venues for boosting bilateral economic and customs cooperation.

A delegation of European Union officials visited Iran from 11-14 July to discuss deeper cooperation in the fields of economic policy, trade, investment and finance.

The visit was led by Eric Mamer, Director at the European Commission Directorate General for Internal market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SME's, while his accompanying delegation comprised nine economic managers of EU including José Luis Londoño Fernández, Director at the European Commission – DG Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD).

Members of the EU delegation also included officials from the Commission services for Trade, Economy and Finance, Taxation and Customs, External Action Service and representatives from the European Central Bank and the European Investment Bank.

Before meeting officials of Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA), the visitors had held meetings with counterparts in the Iranian administration, including the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade, the Ministry of Economy and Finance the Central Bank of Iran as well as the Iranian Chamber of Commerce.

During the meeting, senior official of Iranian Customs Organization Mahmoud Beheshtian introduced structure, characteristics and duties of IRICA and its membership in international organizations and conventions including Harmonized System (HS) and Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC). He also explained that Iran’s customs laws and regulations conform to international customs regulations.

Eric Mamer, for his part, voiced readiness for cooperation between Iran and Europe in all areas including customs affairs urging the Iranian side to express preferences and priorities for mutual collaboration; “the trip of EU delegation follows earlier visit to Tehran of EU Foreign Policy Chief Mogherini who was accompanied by a seven-strong group,” he emphasized.

Later, Beheshtian, while referring to IRICA’s achievements and capabilities in implementing recommendation of the World Customs Organization in field of risk management and digital customs, emphasized the necessity of finalizing and signing customs cooperation agreements between the two sides which was welcomed by the chairman of the EU delegation.

Mamer appointed José Luis Londoño Fernández as the European Union liaison to follow up the issue and urged the Iranian side to introduce their representative.

The Iranian officials further reviewed existing cooperation agreements with EU member countries pointing to lack of interest by European states to ink new customs deals with Iran due to the need for compliance with customs regulation of the European Union. Iran further urged the other party to provide grounds for signing new contracts in order to facilitate trade between Iran and EU countries.

José Luis Londoño Fernández, Director at the European Commission – DG Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD), explained that customs documents are not exchangeable with Iran unless in coordination with the EU; “the Iranian side is required to make official correspondence for posing the request to begin relevant negotiations.”

Iranian officials later enumerated further areas of cooperation including joint training courses, technical assistance in customs issues, electronic exchange of information, collaboration in areas of mechanized equipment like x-ray inspection systems, drugs and explosives detector devices as well as detection dogs.

As recently stated by UN Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, at the time of the high level visit to Tehran on 16 April, the European Union actively supports Iran's integration in the world economy and its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

During the current visit and as a follow up to the joint statement by the High Representative and Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif, it was agreed to initiate a broad based industrial dialogue to be launched on the occasion of a 'European Economic Mission' to Teheran, planned for 17-19 October, to be led by EU Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, together with representatives of European Business associations.

This dialogue could cover a number of key sectors of mutual interest such as textile, automotive, raw materials, tourism and construction, but also horizontal issues like business environment and SME Development. In addition, a regular macro-economic dialogue is envisaged with the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The European Union is the largest integrated market in the world, comprising over 500 million people and represents a major opportunity for two-way economic and investment flows.

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