The sixth round of talks on the signing of a preferential trade agreement between Tehran and New Delhi, which will facilitate mutual trade, will be held in the presence of economic and political experts from both countries. India and Iran have so far held four roundtables on the preferential trade agreement, asghar Omidi, a trade adviser at the Iranian embassy, said Indian businessmen at a meeting organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a trade lobbying group. The fourth round took place in March in Tehran, and another round is expected next month, he said. Negotiations on the agreement, launched in 2016, are expected to be in the final phase and both sides hope that the list of products eligible for preferential tariffs will be finalised in the next round of negotiations. The move is seen as a possible way to continue trade, despite crippling sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic after the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The second round of discussions between India and Iran on the preferential trade agreement is expected to focus on extending trade to manufacturing products, services and light construction. India-Iran trade increased in fiscal 2018-19 to $17.03 billion from $13.76 billion in 2017-18, an increase of 23.8 percent. In 2018-19, India`s exports increased by 32.3% to $3.5 billion, while imports from Iran increased by 21.8% to $13.5 billion. Parham Rezaei said that while the coronavirus has created some problems for trade between the two countries that still exist, they will be removed in the next two weeks. The total value of India`s trade with Iran is estimated at $18 billion (2018). The export basket consists of rice (46.4%), tea (4.4%), soybean oil cakes (4.3%), carbon electrodes for electrical appliances (3.3%), gasoline extracted (3%), uncoated paper and cardboard (1.8%) and medicines (1.4%).
On the other hand, the main imports, valued at $12.85 billion, represent 88% of crude oil, with the remainder consisting of chemicals (organic and inorganic chemicals) and fertilizers. Iran offers 10% or less import duties on only 37.2% of tariff lines, while 17% of customs positions are still less than 50% tariffs or more. India`s main products of interest with high tariffs are Basmati (45%), black fermented tea (30%), motorbikes (65%), textiles (65%), glass microspheres (45%), new pneumatic tires (30%), polyester filament yarn (40%) fabrics (70%). A Germanic view of tariff reduction under the PTA project will help India increase its exports. Although talks between Iran and India for a reciprocal preferential trade pact began more than a decade ago, the agreement has not yet been signed, despite the fact that five rounds of talks have taken place to date. At the meeting, the Iranian side stressed the importance of strengthening mutual trade relations and the need to continue preferential trade negotiations between the two countries. He expressed Iran`s willingness to immediately reach agreements for the sixth round of preferential trade negotiations between Iran and India via video conference.