EghtesadOnline: Iraqi Acting Minister of Industry and Minerals Mohammad Shia al-Sudani and Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami signed a cooperation agreement on military industrialization in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
The National Iraqi News Agency also reported on Thursday that the agreement is in the field of technology transfer, localization of military and civilian products and exchange of experiences through additional meetings of experts of the two parties to expand future cooperation in military and civilian industrial projects.
Al-Sudani highlighted the strategic relationship between Iraq and Iran and the firm determination of the two countries to cooperate in various other fields, especially the economic field, building campaigns and reconstruction of liberated cities.
“There is a series of meetings, understandings and visits already held between the two sides at all levels and it is time to move to practical steps in light of Iraq’s possession of enormous resources, human resources, expertise, competencies and infrastructure,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
Sudani stressed that the need for quick steps to meet the requirements of the Iraqi side in the implementation of military industrial projects and the manufacture of some of the military equipment, such as light and medium equipment, ammunition, mortars, artillery, light weapons, drones and communications.
The Iranian defense minister confirmed his country’s “continued support for Iraq and its serious desire to contribute to the campaigns of reconstruction after the great damage suffered in the cities and areas raided by IS terrorists”, reviewing the possibilities of his country cooperating in the field of military industries and communications and expressing full readiness to provide support and invest in Iraq.
Hatami called for “moving quickly to identify projects that can be implemented to achieve economic action with positive effects and results for the two countries”.
In a meeting with Iraqi officials in Baghdad in March, Iran’s First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said Iran is ready to allocate a credit line amounting to $3 billion to Iraq for rebuilding the war-ravaged areas of the neighboring country.
Recently, Iran’s commercial attaché to Iraq, Nasser Behzad, listed the commodities Iran should prioritize for exporting to Iraq.
As reported by IRNA, citing the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, top priorities include industrial machinery and equipment; medicines and health equipment; food products; detergents and cosmetics; textile; petrochemical and basic oil products; construction materials; electrical home appliances; cellular products; chemicals and minerals; fruits and ornamental plants; livestock products; industrial and herbal plants; leather; and metal products.
According to Behzad, Iraq imports close to $1.5 billion worth of industrial machinery and equipment, while Iran has a 5% share in this regard. Considering the start of reconstruction projects in Iraq and the need for such machinery, Iraq’s machinery imports are predicted to reach $3 billion in 2018.
He said poor marketing is currently the main reason impeding the stronger presence of Iranian businesspeople and traders in Iraq.
Iran-Iraq non-oil trade in the last fiscal year (March 2017-18) totaled $6.50 billion, registering an increase of 4.96% compared to the year before, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
Iran exported 13.09 million tons of commodities worth $6.42 billion to the neighboring country, down by 8.40% in tonnage and up by 4.79% in value year-on-year.
Among the main commodities exported to Iraq were steam turbine parts, evaporative cooler and tile.
Iraq exported 80,429 tons of goods worth $77.44 million to Iran, indicating growth both in tonnage and value by 51.91% and 21.50% respectively.
Iraq mainly exported aluminum alloy, battery waste and combine harvesters to Iran.
“As per a recent agreement between Iranian and Iraqi customs officials, 12 Iranian commodities exported to the neighboring country will be exempt from standard control inspections upon entry to Iraq, according to the head of the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran, Nayyereh Piroozbakht.
She said the number is expected to increase to 50 in the near future.
The 12 commodities include frozen chicken, tomato paste, evaporative coolers, stoves, bricks and socks, as well as different types of tire (for bicycle, motorcycle, cars, etc.), ISNA reported.
“From now on, Iraqi customs offices will unquestionably give the go-ahead for the import of the aforementioned items that bear the Iranian standard logo,” she said.