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Turkish-Iranian trade disappoints big time

Turkish-Iranian trade has declined to its lowest level in nine years despite political rapprochement, a preferential trade agreement and the use of local currencies in economic ties.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (L) and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) sign a cooperation agreement before a joint press conference with Turkey's President and Iran's President at the Turkish presidential complex in Ankara on December 20, 2018. - The Turkish President held talks with Rouhani with Syria likely to dominate the agenda after the surprise US decision to withdraw. The meeting in Ankara had been arranged before US President stunned allies and American officials the day before w

Turkey and Iran have maintained cooperation in regional affairs in recent years, including most notably joint efforts for a settlement in Syria but also solidarity against US and Israeli policies in the Middle East. Earlier this month, Turkey’s interior minister even raised the prospect of a joint operation against Kurdish militants.

The political solidarity has been widely expected to strengthen bilateral trade, with a number of steps taken to that effect. In 2015, a preferential trade agreement between the two neighbors lowered tariffs on 125 industrial and 142 agricultural products. Two years later, a swap agreement took effect to allow the use of national currencies in bilateral trade.

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