Iraq ban on Iranian cement imports new challenge for Iran cement industry

Tehran, May 16, IRNA – Passing a new bill by the Iraqi government banning imports of Iranian cement has posed a challenge for the Iranian cement industry, an official said.

Mohammad-Reza Lotfi, the deputy head of the Association of Cement Industry Entrepreneurs, said that Iran’s cement exports to Iraq amounted to some 7 million tons last year.

The current recession in the cement industry has caused major problems that requires officials in charge to find a solution, Lotfi said.

He said that the only solution to the problem is looking for new markets for the Iranian cement.

Other neighboring countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as the Central Asia can be seen as new markets for Iranian cement, Lotfi said.

The Iraqi government imposed a ban on imports of Iranian cement last week to protect its domestic production.

Some 60% of Iranian exports of cement and clinker were sent to Iraq last year, according to Abdolreza Sheikhan, the secretary of the Association of Cement Industry Entrepreneurs.

He also referred to Azerbaijan as another main destination for Iranian cement, saying as the country has increased its production capacity and it has lowered imports from Iran.