Iran-Iraq Economic Ties Won't Be Affected by US Tensions

(Saturday, January 11, 2020) 09:19

Iran’s exports to Iraq stood at $6.3 billion in the nine months to Dec. 21, Hamid Hosseini, the secretary-general of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, said.

“In the two months ending Nov. 21, Iran’s exports to Iraq declined by $1 billion whereas in the last fiscal month (Nov. 22-Dec. 21), exports to Iraq increased by $600 million,” he added. 

Noting that tensions with the US won’t have a negative impact on Iran-Iraq economic ties, Hosseini said Iranians and the Iraqis possess many commonalities and their economic exchanges would increase even more than the current volume, if the US or its allies try to disrupt the situation. 

“Iranian products enjoy popularity there, as they reach Iraqi consumers at the cheapest price and fast,” he was quoted as saying by Otaghiranonline.ir  

“Over the years, the Americans have tried to restrict Iran’s economic presence in Iraq by imposing limits on banking relations or carrying out rigorous inspections. That’s the reason trade between the two countries has not progressed as it should have, whereas it could have expanded in different sectors, namely oil, industries, telecommunications and education.”

Hosseini noted that the imminent reopening of the Chazzabeh border crossing and Sumar-Mandali customs border would help boost Iran’s exports to the neighboring country by the end of the current fiscal year (March 19). 

On top of that, Iraqi security and political conditions are stabilizing, he added. 

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 per month prior to the unrest, which declined to $540 million in the Iranian month ending Nov. 21—a $210-million downturn. 

He, however, pointed out that Iran’s exports to Iraqi Kurdistan have been continuing without problems.

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 the Iraqi market, adding that 800 trucks carry Iranian goods and products into Iraqi Kurdistan daily.

According to chairman of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Hamid Zadboum, the value of Iranian exports to neighboring Iraq is one-fourth 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 comprises $10 billion of the total of $40 billion in import into Iraq [per year],” 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 the volume of exports to Iraq, he added, citing the difficult trade conditions caused by US sanctions.

Zadboum expressed optimism that Iran would boost exports to Iraq, saying the Islamic Republic is expected to gain a larger share of Iraq’s import market by next year.

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