Iran, Iraq keen to expand trade ties

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian and Iraqi officials in a meeting in Ilam province in western Iran on Monday underlined the need for the further expansion of bilateral ties.

During the meeting in Ilam city today, Governor-General of the province Mohammad Reza Morvarid and Iraqi Consul General in Iran’s western Kermanshah province Mostafa Ebrahim explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating mutual cooperation.

The Ilam governor general said trade transactions between Iran and Iraq would increase in the near future, and added, “Secure common borders between Iran and Iraq in Mehran region has created proper conditions for the expansion of the trade ties between the two countries.”

He underlined that Iran and Iraq have had good cultural ties since old times, and said, “Fortunately, we have had good cooperation in the reconstruction of Iraq and export of different products to that country.”

Yet, he said, efforts should be made to boost Iran’s trade and transactions with its Muslim neighbor.

Former Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi said late last month Iran’s share in the reconstruction of the neighboring Iraq is meager, and urged the country’s businessmen and private sector to play a more active role in the Muslim country’s market.

“Iraq is among those countries that have both money and jobs; hence, we should try to increase our presence in the Iraqi market,” Qassemi, now an advisor of Iran’s First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, said, addressing a conference on Iraq in Tehran last Sunday.

He said that Iraq is a federal state and Iranian traders should grow more active in Iraq’s provinces. “We recommend that holding exhibitions and introducing goods can be effective.”

Qassemi pointed to the role that Iran can play in the reconstruction of Iraq, “Iraq is planning to build 2mln houses for the poor people,” Rostam Qassemi, a former oil minister under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is now an advisor to the first vice-president, said.

“And Iran has taken up construction of 200,000 of these residential units,” he added.

Qassemi said that he will travel to Iraq today to work out a final planning for the two countries’ cooperation in building these houses.

Iran and Iraq have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during the 2003 US invasion of the Muslim country.

Early December, top Iranian and Iraqi officials, in a joint news conference in Tehran, stressed the need for the further expansion of mutual cooperation in economic fields.

During the news conference, the Iranian first vice president and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki reiterated the necessity for increasing exchange of visits between the two countries’ businessmen and trade officials in a bid to further consolidate Iran-Iraq economic ties.

The Iranian first vice-president reiterated that enhancement of bilateral ties tops the agenda of both Tehran and Baghdad, and said “the agreements between Tehran and Baghdad have provided proper opportunities for Iranian businessmen to play a bigger role in the gas and housing industries and other sectors in Iraq”.

The Iraqi prime minister, pointed to his meeting with the Iranian first vice-president, and said, “We agreed to have extensive activities and we also agreed on establishing different ways for conducting (joint) economic activities.”

By Fars News Agency


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