EghtesadOnline: The Export Guarantee Fund of Iran, a state-owned export credit agency, has issued $3.4 billion worth of export insurance cover and guarantees for Iranian traders who export goods to Iraq over the past 10 years.
The EGFI paid $113 million in compensation for losses during the period, Afrouz Bahrami, the EGFI chief said in a meeting with head and other members of the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce.
EGFI and the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce began cooperation to help develop bilateral trade and boost non-oil export to the neighboring Arab country, according to the EGFI website.
Pointing to EGFI’s mission to help shield non-oil exporters from US sanctions, Bahrami said the fund is keen on expanding trade with 15 neighboring countries “given Iran’s meager share in neighboring countries’ imports, according to Financial Tribune.
“Given Iran’s small 2.5% share in the $1 trillion imports of neighboring countries, and the constraints imposed by sanctions, expanding trade with neighbors is crucial,” she said.
The official also complained about the lack of commitment on the part of Iraqi companies who have failed to meet their financial obligations to Iranian contractors who sold technical and engineering services to the Iraqis.
“In 2015 the Tehran government allocated $200 million in credit to support engineering and technical services companies in Iraq. “The credits were endorsed by the Central Bank of Iran and EGFI. None of those amounts have been cleared.”
EGFI is one of the pillars of the Iranian export industry besides other organizations like the Trade Promotion Organization, the National Development Fund of Iran and Export Development Bank of Iran, she noted.
The secretary-general of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Hamid Hosseini said in the meeting that Iran annually exports $9 billion in non-oil goods to Iraq.
However, he added that this volume is a far cry from the anticipated $20 billion target. "To reach $20 billion in non-oil trade with Iraq, we need to improve infrastructure and resort to robust diplomacy with Iraqi parties," he said.
Iran’s Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Reza Rahmani had earlier said Iran and Iraq want to increase annual bilateral trade to $20 billion within two years.
He made the statement after a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Mohamed Hashim Al Ani in Tehran on March 6.
According to Iran's commercial attaché in Baghdad, Nasser Behzad, Iran exported $8.3 billion worth of non-oil commodities to Iraq during the first 11 months of the previous fiscal year (March 21- 2018-Feb. 19-2019) to register a rise of 54% and 45% in volume and value respectively compared to last year.