Minister says Iran-Iraq trade volume to rise to $ 20 billion

IRNA – Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade Reza Rahmani noted that there is a capacity needed to increase the volume of trade between Iran and Iraq to $20 billion by 2021.

At the end of a signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding to establish dispute resolution councils in industrial, mining and commercial centers, Rahmani told reporters on Sunday that the trade volume between the two countries was $12 billion last year.

Developing business and economic relations with the neighboring countries is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Industry in the current year and is one of the seven priorities of the ministry’s plans, he noted.

The official highlighted that the exchange of trade delegations, attendance at two countries’ exhibitions, establishment of the permanent exhibition of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Iraq and the increase in the commute of officials of the two countries are planned to increase the volume of trade between the two countries.

The minister said that the activities of border crossings between the two countries have increased, adding the launch of the Shalamcheh-Basra railway will provide a good opportunity for the development of Iran-Iraq trade relations and in addition, good practices in customs and standards are on the agenda.

Iran’s private sector is planning joint industrial estates in a bid to raise trade exchanges among countries as well as increase Iran’s exports to other countries via joint ventures.

“Iraq is getting back on its feet and is moving towards industrialization. So, creating joint industrial estates will help generate jobs in the country and expand the Iranian market there,” said Hamid Hosein, Secretary-General of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce late September.

He was addressing the “Trade with Iraq in 2020” conference at Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

The official noted that the Iranian service providers and knowledge-based companies can compete well in Iraq’s thriving market.

Iran mainly exports goods and commodities to Iraq at the current stage. Iraq has been Iran’s top export destination so far, however, many other countries are rushing to replace Iran as the main exporter to Iraq.

An Iranian official in mid-September had announced the contribution of the Mostazafan Foundation for the construction of the Shalamcheh-Basra Railway, and said that as a result of this project, Iran’s Railway will connect to Iraq.

Deputy Minister and Managing Director of Road Infrastructure Development and Transport Company of Ministry of Roads and Urban Development Kheirollah Khademi told reporters on the sidelines of a visit to Zanjan province’s highway projects on Sept 18 that the length of the Shalamcheh-Basra railway project is 32 kilometers and is being implemented with 60-percent investment by the Mostazafan Foundation and 40 percent by Iran Railway Company.

He said that connecting Iran’s railway to Iraq is very effective for the economy of both countries.

In relevant remarks in July, the official said that the project had gained momentum after the recent visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Iraq.

A memorandum of understanding was approved by Iran after the meeting which paved the way for construction of the project, he said.