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EU accounts for 30% of Iran's foreign trade

Tehran, Sept 7, IRNA -- A senior Foreign Ministry official said in Tehran on Monday that some 30 percent of Iran's international trading activities are conducted with member states of the European Union, stressing that the Islamic states have developed favorable relations with the 25-nation bloc.

The English-language paper 'Iran Daily' on Tuesday quoted Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Mohammad Hossein Adeli as saying that moves to draw up Iran-EU economic accord are in the initial stages.

He added that bilateral trade relations remain satisfactory irrespective of the outcomes of this accord.

The official further noted that Iran's bid to join the World Trade Organization has been repeatedly blocked by the United States in recent years, adding that the delay in the country's accession will provide it with more time to create the required infrastructure.

"It is not important that we have not yet managed to prepare our economy for internationalization," he said, noting that the economic reform has in the past years helped create this preparedness.

He said the WTO accession must follow certain procedure, in which the first step is to become an observer.

Experts contend that the slow pace of privatization will delay Iran's membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Privatization setbacks will also convince members of the organization that the Islamic Republic is unable to open up its economy.

The United State continues to thwart regular requests by Iran to start membership negotiations. The WTO has not considered applications by Syria and Afghanistan as well.

In a move orchestrated by the United States, the WTO agreed earlier this year to admit Iraq as an observer. Iraq has not yet formally started membership talks.

The WTO, which currently has 147 members, sets legally binding rules on trade that are designed to give all countries a level playing field for selling their exports.

It is currently negotiating a new round that would cut import duties and reduce subsidies. Members hope this will give a boost to the global economy.

... Payvand News - 9/7/04 ... --

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