EghtesadOnline: Iran’s exports to Iraq stood at more than $4.16 billion during the first half of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sep 22), registering a 31% rise compared with the similar period of last year, according to the Iranian chairman of Ian-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce.
“The main exported items were steam turbine parts and equipment, plastic products, cheese, ice cream, home appliances, evaporative air coolers and kitchenware,” Yahya Al-e Es'haq was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Addressing the Iran-Iraq Commercial Forum in Tehran on Tuesday, which was co-chaired by Chairman of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Gholamhossein Shafei and President of the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce Jaafar al-Hamdani, Al-e Es'haq said the two neighboring countries are more in need of joint investments rather than mere exports to each other.
Shafei said the ever-changing commercial regulations in both Iran and Iraq have created complications for businesspeople from the two sides and create a big handicap to increasing bilateral trade, Financial Tribune reported.
The official named lack of banking and insurance interactions, unsettled accounts in the field of engineering and technical services, businesspeople’s difficulties in acquiring visa as other issues hampering efficient bilateral economic ties.
Shafei proposed the establishment of an arbitration committee between the two sides so that disputes between Iranian and Iraqi economic players could be resolved more efficiently and easily.
Al-Hamdani welcomed Shafei’s proposal and said an arbitration committee can help expand commercial ties between the two neighboring countries.
The Iraqi official said that recently some Iranian merchants exported commodities were declared non-compliant with international or even Iraqi standards, which could stain the good reputation of Iranian goods in the Iraqi market. He called on Iran’s private sector officials to see to the matter.
Al-Hamdani said that banking relations can be strengthened through the cooperation of local banks from the two sides.
“Iraqi banks are willing to found joint banks with Iranian private banks,” he was quoted as saying by ICCIMA's news portal.
He added that Iraq will stand by its neighboring country through the sanctions and any difficulties that may follow, just as Iranians did during the times of war and hardship for the Iraqi people.
Iraq’s biggest private sector commercial delegation headed by al-Hamdani arrived in Tehran on Monday for a four-day visit, according to Iran’s commercial attaché to Baghdad.
“The visiting delegation consists of chairmen from 22 Iraqi chambers of commerce and businesspeople active in the fields of plastic products, electrical equipment, real estate trade, agricultural equipment and general commerce who will be holding meetings with their Iranian counterparts as well as economic officials,” Nasser Behzad added.
The event was jointly organized by ICCIMA, the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran and Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce.
The US dollar has been completely eliminated from trade deals conducted between Iran and Iraq due to US sanctions and the neighboring countries have shifted toward the euro and national currencies, Al-e Es'haq announced earlier this month.
US sanctions, whose first batch were reimposed after a wind-down period ended on Aug. 6 following a unilateral withdrawal by US President Donald Trump from Iran’s nuclear accord, seek to limit or eliminate Iran’s access to dollar transactions among other things.
Baghdad is in a difficult position amid US sanctions against Iran. Iraq imports crucial supplies from ally Iran but its other major ally is the United States.
Iraqi officials fear shortages of key items, if Baghdad were to comply with all the sanctions. This could lead to political turmoil at a delicate time in Iraqi politics.