Iranians Urged to Make Iraq Cement Investment
Economy, Business And Markets

Iranians Urged to Make Iraq Cement Investment

Iran should invest in the Iraqi cement industry to have a sustained share in the neighboring market, the head of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce said.
“During a meeting with Iraq’s minister of industry and minerals, the Iraqis said they intend to make their industries self-sufficient and that they do not want to be a sole importer of goods [such as cement] from Iran,” Yahya Al-e Es’haq added.
He noted that the French are securing their foothold in the Iraqi cement market by investing in the sector, hence Iran must follow suit.
“Close to 70% of Iraq’s cement plants are working below capacity and can be revitalized through investments,” he said.
“The improvement in Iraq’s security condition is a hopeful sign. We can turn the country into one of our main technical and engineering service export markets for the next 10-15 years, if we can improve bilateral trade relations.”
Al-e Es’haq emphasized that Iranian investors have to move fast, since improved conditions in Iraq will definitely attract other global competitors. 
In July 2010, Iraq’s Industries Ministry signed a contract with the French company Lafarge to renovate Karbala Cement Factory and raise output from 300,000 tons to 1.8 million tons per year. 
The French company also invested in three other factories in the province of Sulaymaniyah.
In the same year, the firm created Lafarge Iraq as a subsidiary of the Switzerland-based LafargeHolcim Group, a world leader in the building materials industry. It was formed by a merger in 2015 of cement companies Holcim and Lafarge.
For years, Iraq was the main destination of Iranian cement and clinker–the raw material used in the first stage of cement manufacturing. The neighboring country once used to account for nearly 65% of Iran’s overseas cement shipments. However, since 2015, the rise of IS terrorist group in Iraq and falling oil prices reduced demand for cement in the country.
Further exacerbating the situation, the Iraqi government slapped heavy tariffs on Iranian cement and clinker imports, and eventually banned it in 2015, citing poor quality as well as dumping on the part of Iranian producers.
Iran is currently the world’s seventh largest cement producer after it dropped three steps last year due to reduced production. Production stood at 58.6 million tons in 2015, down 12% year-on-year, according to Cement Employers Association’s data.

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