(SHADA: TEHRAN) -- In a meeting with David Ananian, Head of the Armenian State Revenue Committee, which was held in the form of a video conference, Mehdi Mirashrafi, Head of Iran Customs Administration, presented proposals to solve the existing problems and improve customs activities, especially on the border between the two countries, which were fully accepted by Armenia.
Mehdi Mirashrafi pointed to the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on trade relations between the countries of the region, and expressed hope that with the end of this disease, trade and customs cooperation between the two sides will return to normal.
We can minimize the problems by cooperating with each other, and since our country's strategic policy is to look at its neighbors, we are trying to increase the level of our trade with neighboring countries, he added.
Noting that the current level of trade between Iran and Armenia is not at the desired level, Mirashrafi said: If the capacities and facilities of the parties are used, the level of trade can be increased significantly.
The Head of Iran Customs Administration thanked Armenia for its good cooperation in sending anti-Coronavirus cargos to Iran and said: The first shipment of Coronavirus test kits from Iran has been exported to Germany.
Referring to the limited capacity of loading and unloading at the Armenian Meghri Customs, which is located near the Norduz border customs in East Azerbaijan Province, Mirashrafi stated: Because the loading and unloading site on the Norduz border is wider than the Meghri customs and it has facilities such as cranes and forklifts, there is naturally more capacity in this case; therefore, if you agree, every day, 200 trucks can unload and load their cargo in Norduz, which 80 trucks did so before the coronavirus outbreak.
Since not all export trucks to Armenia are unloaded and loaded at the border, some of them are escorted by the police from the beginning of the Iranian border to Yerevan, and due to the coronavirus outbreak, drivers are not allowed to stop to pray, eat and rest along the way, and they need to be provided with a specific place in Armenia, he added.
Currently, the number of trucks escorted by the Armenian police on the border to Yerevan is 50 a day and we want to increase them to 75 a day, he said.
Mirashrafi also stressed the importance of coordinating the working hours of the Norduz and Meghri border customs offices and said: Our request is that the work schedule of the border customs be coordinated with each other and that the work schedule is not changed without prior notice.
According to the report, David Ananian, Head of the Armenian State Revenue Committee, expressed satisfaction with the development of customs cooperation and his country's interest in resolving problems and improving trade relations with Iran.
Confirming the statements of the Head of Iran Customs Administration, he said: It is very important for us to increase the volume of trade with Iran, and for this reason we agree with your suggestions on providing facilities at the Norduz border, which has many technical facilities, and we announced it via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Noting that the goal of the Armenian Customs is to develop the Meghri Customs, David Ananian said: Even with Coronavirus disease, this border is developing and our approach, as mentioned, is to expand trade with Iran.
He further agreed with the proposal of the head of Iran Customs Administration to unload and load cargo at Norduz Customs instead of Meghri Customs and said: I will make arrangements to do so soon.
He also agreed with the proposal of the Iranian Customs to allocate special places for the Iranian drivers to rest and said: We will talk to the relevant officials in this regard.
Noting that the activity of the Meghri Customs is 24 hours a day, he added: We will increase the number of employees of the customs so that we can provide services more quickly at all working hours.
Since part of the customs affairs is related to transit cargo at the Meghri border and the rest is done in Yerevan, we intend to provide conditions to make decisions in the same place by increasing the authority of border customs managers, Ananian continued.
He further said that the Armenian Customs is ready to exchange information electronically based on the agreement reached in April 2019.
Ananian also announced his readiness to build a common border gate with Iran in the framework of the Eurasian Agreement and called for the continuation of the dialogue between the two sides in the form of a video conference to resolve the existing problems.