TEHRAN (FNA)- Former Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi, who is now in charge of a large economic body to widen Iran-Iraq trade ties, said Iran can boost its non-oil exports to its Muslim neighboring state to $30 billion.
Addressing a Joint Iran-Iraq Trade Conference in Tehran on Tuesday, Qassemi, who is now the head of the Staff for the Development of Iran-Iraq Economic Relations, said Iran’s non-oil exports amount to $48bln now, “and if we exclude the value of the petrochemical products, there will remain $30bln worth of non-oil exports, half of which is to Iraq”.
Qassemi further pointed out that both states enjoy the capacity “to double Iran’s non-oil exports to Iraq”.
He also noted that Tehran and Baghdad plan to set up a joint office for Iran-Iraq trade transactions within the next two to three months, and said relevant coordination is being made with Iran’s chamber of commerce now.
Earlier this year, Iraqi Commercial Attache to Iran Shaker Razzaq Abdo voiced his country’s willingness to expand trade cooperation with Iran.
“Iran is one of the powerful and renowned countries in different industrial and engineering fields in West Asia and we are willing to expand trade relations with Iran and we can further expand our economic transactions,” Razzaq Abdo told FNA.
He noted that in his opinion there are a lot of capacities for the expansion of mutual cooperation and boosting trade transactions between Iran and Iraq.
“During my visit to different industrial and engineering units of Qazvin, I evaluated the capabilities of Iran’s industrial and engineering units at a very high level,” Razzaq Abdo said, referring to the industrial province of Qazvin in Northern Iran.
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 2013, 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 Eshaq Jahangiri and former 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 former Iraqi premier, 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.”
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