Tehran Hosts Iran-Iraq Business Forum

(Tuesday, December 3, 2019) 11:13

The Iranian capital is hosting a forum attended by the businesspeople of Iran, Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

Held at Tehran’s Parsian Evin Hotel, the two-day forum started on Monday and concludes on Tuesday.

According to Secretary-General of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Hamid Hosseini, 80% of Iranian companies use the Kurdistan Region to enter the Iraqi market. 

“Currently, 800 trucks carry Iranian goods and products into Iraqi Kurdistan daily,” he told IRIB News.

Yassin Rahim Faraj, vice chairman of Chamber of Commerce of Sulaymaniyeh Province in Iraqi Kurdistan, noted that border crossings of Parvizkhan and Bashmaq are the two main gateways 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 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 the 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 early October has been the main reason for the plummeting exports, 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 ending Sept. 22.

The Iranian official said borders are open and exports are continuing, but recession in the Iraqi market and insecurity have affected shipments and caused exports to decline, Fars News Agency reported.

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 in Shalamcheh trade dock,” he said.

“Given the security condition in Iraq, an average of between 100 and 150 trucks are loading their cargoes at this border daily.”

Atrafeh noted that construction materials, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as farmed fish are major products exported through Shalamcheh border crossing to neighboring Iraq.

Iran and Iraq have nine border crossings, out of which five are currently open and active.