Economy, Domestic Economy

$30b Target for Iraq Trade

$30b Target for Iraq Trade
$30b Target for Iraq Trade

Iran-Iran trade exchanges have seen a twentyfold increase over the past decade and it could reach up to $25 to $30 billion per year, vice-president for executive affairs, Mohammad Shariatmadari, suggested on Tuesday, Tasnim news agency reported.

“Iran and Iraq have developed a very strategic partnership that is gradually growing,” Shariatmadari said, while addressing the first Iran-Iraq International Trade Conference in Tehran.

He said that more work has to be done to reach the multi-billion dollar target between the two countries, adding, “The goal is within reach considering the potential on both sides of the border.”

He said that Iran’s export of engineering services to Iraq has reached $5 billion, and called for a special committee to be formed between the two countries to facilitate further exports of Iranian engineering services to Iraq.

He also added that Iran and Iraq will soon establish a joint bank with the help of the private sector to facilitate financial transactions for Iranian and Iraqi businessmen.

Iran and Iraq have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

Last month, the Head of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Valiollah Afkhamirad announced that Iran and Iraq have signed a trade protocol for the promotion of cooperation between the two countries.

“This document has 15 paragraphs and it has been signed to facilitate trade exchanges between Tehran and Baghdad,” Afkhamirad said.

Meanwhile, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, Saeed Danaeifar, said that Iran has authorized exports of medicine and medical equipment to Iraq, a move which he said “will remove the obstacles against the export of medicine.”  The Sumar-Mandali border customs, which will be launched soon, is going to directly connect Iran’s trade to Iraq, he added.

The government of Iraq has recently decided to finance construction projects within the new Sumar-Mandali crossing (124 km northeast of Baquba) in order to speed up the opening of new commercial transactions after a 34-year-old closure.

Speaking at the meeting held by the joint Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, Danaeifar added that Iran’s export to Iraq have reached $7 billion within past eight years, and stated, “Iranian exports to Iraq can increase to $20 billion, because the Iraqi market is a lucrative one and it has numerous financial resources.”

He said that 20% of Iraqi tourists come to Iran for medical reasons, and added, “the relevant organizations must pave the ground for attracting more Iraqi tourists.”

Many experts believe that the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, which was established to boost economic ties between the two neighbors, has so far failed to meet its targets.

For instance, Assadollah Asgaroladi, who is the chairman of the export committee of Iran Chamber of Commerce, argues that Iranian trade delegations who have traveled to Iraq over the past few years have not succeeded in persuading Iraqi consumers to buy their products, adding that much more should be done to increase Iran’s share in the Iraqi market.