EghtesadOnline: Chairman of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Hamid Zadboum said the value of Iranian exports to neighboring Iraq amounts to one-fourth of the Arab country’s total imports.
“Twenty-five percent of the import market in Iraq are held by Iran, as the value of Iranian goods makes up $10 billion of the total of $40 billion in Iraqi imports [per annum],” he was quoted as saying by ILNA.
Highlighting efforts to increase Iran’s share in the Iraqi market, Zadboum said Trade Promotion Organization of Iran has for the first time dispatched a commercial attaché to the Iraqi city of Basra.
“Iran has the potential to experience a big rise in exports to Iraq,” he added, citing the difficult trade conditions caused by US sanctions, Financial Tribune reported.
The official expressed optimism that Iran would boost exports to Iraq, stressing that the Islamic Republic is expected to gain a larger share of Iraq’s import market by next year.
The Iranian capital recently hosted a meeting attended by the businesspeople of Iran, Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
Held at Tehran’s Parsian Evin Hotel, the two-day meeting opened on Dec. 2.
According to Secretary-General of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Hamid Hosseini, 80% of Iranian companies use the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to enter Iraq’s market.
“Currently, 800 trucks carry Iranian goods and products into Iraqi Kurdistan on a daily basis,” he told IRIB News.
Yassin Rahim Faraj, vice chairman of Sulaymaniyeh Chamber of Commerce in Iraqi Kurdistan, noted that border crossings of Parvizkhan and Bashmaq are the two main gates for the export of Iranian products into Iraqi Kurdistan.
Sheikh Mustafa Abdul Rahman, chairman of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region's General Union of Importers and Exporters, told IRNA that bilateral trade between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan stands at $6 billion per year.
“The total value of exports to Iraq during the first seven months of the current Iranian year [March 21-Oct. 22] declined by $540 million compared with the similar period of 2018,” says Seyyed Hamid Hosseini, who serves as secretary-general of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce.
Data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show Iraq imported $5.17 billion worth of non-oil goods from Iran during the seven-month period to account for 21.2% of overall exports.
Hosseini explained that protests and riots that began in Iraq since early October have been the main reason for the plummeting export figures, as he insisted that the value of Iranian shipments sent to the Arab country had increased year-on-year in the first six months of the Iranian year (ended Sept. 22).
What was initially a peaceful protest movement against corruption in Iraq has now turned into violent clashes and rioting in major cities across the country. More than 400 people have been killed in the riots that authorities in Baghdad blame on certain foreign governments.
Hadi Atrafeh, the head of Transit and Transport Department of Arvand Free Trade Zone in Iran’s southern Khuzestan Province, said last month the daily flow of trucks exporting goods from Iran to Iraq is underway on a regular basis with no pause or change.
“Presently, about 100 trucks are exchanging goods with the Iraqi side at the Shalamcheh trade dock,” he said.
“Despite the security condition in Iraq, an average of 100 to 150 trucks are loading their cargoes on this border daily.”
Atrafeh said construction materials, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as farmed fish are major products exported through the Shalamcheh border crossing to neighboring Iraq.
Iran and Iraq have nine border crossings, out of which five are currently open and active.