Economy, Domestic Economy

Iranian Traders Encouraged to Fill Iraqi Market Void

Iranian Traders Encouraged to Fill Iraqi Market Void
Iranian Traders Encouraged to Fill Iraqi Market Void

As Iraq’s trade with Turkey is on the decline, Iranian exporters should seize the opportunity and secure their foothold in the neighboring country’s market, said an official with Iran’s International Exhibition Company.

In a roundtable held in Tehran earlier this week to discuss Iran’s upcoming exclusive exhibition in Baghdad, Mohammad Reza Alavi also called on Iranian companies to have a strong presence in the Iraqi market to replace “rivals” in the Iraqi market, IRNA reported.

Tensions between Ankara and Kurdish militants in Iraq have resulted in a decline in Iraq-Turkey trade. Major border crossings in the Iraqi Kurdistan’s shared border with Turkey have been either closed or have limited traffic over the past months.

Iraq has lately mounted pressure on Turkey to withdraw hundreds of soldiers from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, taking the dispute to the United Nations Security Council and threatening to cut trade ties with the government in Ankara, which amount to about $11 billion a year.

Iraq’s government ordered the closure of its commercial office in Istanbul, according to Hashem Hatem, director of foreign economic relations at the Ministry of Trade.

Authorities may take “tougher steps,” including cutting trade links with Turkey, he has been quoted as saying.

Iran’s second exclusive trade exhibition will be held in Baghdad on Feb. 16-19, with the aim of promoting Iranian products in the neighboring country.

“The event is the biggest Iranian exhibition held abroad, in which 235 manufacturing and service companies will offer their products and services in a 6,560-square-meter area,” Hatem said.

The companies will showcase their products and services related to oil and gas, power plants, construction materials, furniture, home appliances, agricultural equipment, automobiles, food and cosmetics.

Iran’s $12 billion annual exports to Iraq, including $6 billion worth of technical and engineering services, have made the neighboring country one of Iran’s top trading partners.

Both Tehran and Baghdad seek to increase the figure to $20 billion in the coming years.