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New Chapter in Ties  With Iraqi Kurdistan
Domestic Economy

New Chapter in Ties With Iraqi Kurdistan

A joint council was established on Thursday between the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture of Sanandaj, the capital of Iran’s Kurdistan Province, and its counterpart in Sulaymaniyah in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, with the aim of boosting trade ties between the two Kurdish-inhabited regions, IRNA reported.
“Representatives from Sulaymaniyah and Sanandaj chambers of commerce will hold a meeting every 15 days to resolve the existing constraints towards more effective bilateral trade,” head of Sanandaj chamber of commerce, Mohammad-Saeed Naghshizadian said in the joint council’s inaugural ceremony held in the northwestern Iranian city on Thursday, attended by governor of Iran’s Kurdistan Province, Abdolmohammad Zahedi and Sulaymaniyah governor general, Asu Fereidoun.

  Private Sector Role in Bilateral Trade   
“Iran’s government aims to elevate the private sector’s role in the economy,” said the governor of Iran’s Kurdistan Province as part of his speech at the council’s inaugural ceremony.
“The era of the government’s monopoly over the economy has come to an end as we are trying to boost the private sector in trade with the neighboring countries and beyond,” said Zahedi.
“Historically, trade relations between the two Kurdish regions were carried out through traditional means,” he noted underlining the need for turning to “modern and systematic trade relations” – a task which he said should be handled by the newly established joint council.
Sulaymaniyah governor general, Asu Fereidoun also called for “systematic expansion of mutual cooperation between Iraq’s Kurdistan region and Iran’s Kurdistan province,” noting that it can, in the long run, help tackle smuggling in the area.
“There is no doubt that cordial relations between the two regions will not only help combat smuggling, but lead to regional development,” said Asu Fereidoun.
Asu Fereidoun arrived in Iran on Wednesday for a three-day visit to Kurdistan Province in western Iran.
He underlined the need for further expansion of cooperation between Iraqi Kurdistan region and Iran.
“The Iraqi Kurdistan region is willing to broaden political, cultural, social and economic relations with Iran,” Fereidoun told reporters on Wednesday, noting that Iraq’s Kurdistan region has had good relations with Iran in the past and that the two sides have previously signed various memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in different areas.

  $6 Billion Trade
In separate remarks, the deputy governor-general of Iran’s Kurdistan Province, Peyman Azhari, said on Wednesday annual trade between Iran and Iraq’s Kurdish speaking regions has reached $6 billion a year, from as low as $250 million a decade ago.
“The visit of Sulaymaniyah governor general to Kurdistan Province would lead to further expansion of business ties between Iran and Iraq,” IRNA quoted Azhari as saying.
In another development, the Iranian official in charge of expansion of economic relations with Iraq, Rostam Ghasemi left Tehran for Erbil on Wednesday to confer with top officials of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

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