EghtesadOnline: Exports of commodities to Iraq through the Sumar Border Terminal in Qasr-e Shirin County of Kermanshah Province restarted from Saturday, after a five-month pause due to border shutdown by the Iraqi authorities.
According to Gilan-e Gharb’s Governor-General Kourosh Mahmoudian, Iran's exports of construction materials, petrochemicals and detergents to Iraq have already resumed through the Sumar border, IRNA reported.
A total of 340,000 tons of goods worth $400,000 were exported to Iraq by 18,000 trucks during the first half of the current Iranian year (March 21-Sept. 22, 2019), according to Financial Tribune.
Last year (March 2018-19), 1.14 million tons of goods worth $1.24 million were exported to Iraq through the border terminal.
“Iran’s overall exports to Iraq reached $6.3 billion in the nine months to Dec. 21,” Hamid Hosseini, secretary-general of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, said recently.
“Over two months leading to Nov. 21, exports declined by $1 billion whereas the last fiscal month (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) saw Iran’s exports to Iraq rise by $600 million.
The American Angle
Noting that tensions with the US won’t have a negative impact on Iran-Iraq economic ties, Hosseini said, “Iranians and Iraqis possess many commonalities. Their economic exchanges would increase even more than the current amount in case the US or its affiliates try to disrupt the situation. Iranian products enjoy popularity, as they reach Iraqi consumers at the cheapest price and fast.”
Over the years, Americans have tried to restrict Iran’s economic presence in Iraq whether by imposing limits on banking relations or carrying out rigorous inspections. That’s the reason why trade between the two countries has not progressed as it should have, whereas it could have been expanded in several sectors, including oil, industries, telecommunications and education, he was quoted as saying by Otaghiranonline.ir.
Hosseini noted that the reopening of Sumar Border Terminal would help pick up Iran’s exports to the neighboring country by the end of the current fiscal year (March 19).
Chazzabeh border crossing, which had also been shut down lately, is also expected to reopen soon.
“Security and political conditions in Iraq are stabilizing,” he said.
Besides Iran-US tensions, the Iraqi government has also been experiencing political unrest recently.
Hosseini earlier said Iran exported $750 million worth of goods to Iraq on a monthly basis prior to the unrest in Baghdad.
The volume declined to $540 million in the Iranian month ending Nov. 21—a $210-million downturn.
Iran’s exports to the Iraqi Kurdistan have been continuing without problems, he added.
According to Sheikh Mustafa Abdulrahman, chairman of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region's General Union of Importers and Exporters, trade between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan stands at $6 billion per year.
In an earlier interview with IRIB News, he said 80% of Iranian companies use the Kurdistan Region to enter Iraq’s market, adding that 800 trucks carry Iranian goods and products into Iraqi Kurdistan daily.
According to Chairman of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Hamid Zadboum, the value of Iranian exports to neighboring Iraq is 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 annual import into Iraq,” he was quoted as saying by ILNA.
Highlighting efforts to increase Iran’s share in the Iraqi market, the official 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.
Zadboum 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.