Iran, Iraq take new steps to expand trade ties

March 12, 2019 - 16:56

TEHRAN – In the first day of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s high profile visit to Iraq, an Iran-Iraq business forum was held in the capital city of Baghdad.

According to a report by the portal of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), the event was attended by several senior officials from both sides including President Rouhani, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi as well as the two countries foreign ministers along with heads of the two countries chambers of commerce and representatives of private companies.

During the event, the two sides called for further expansion of the trade ties between the two countries and President Rouhani and Adil Abdul-Mahdi delivered speeches addressing various trade related issues.

In his speech, the Iranian president assessed the talks between the two sides positively, saying that a series of desirable agreements have been reached which can provide a good basis for future cooperation between the two countries’ private sectors.

He mentioned some of the Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) which were signed between the two sides, including an agreement on building a cross-border railway, and one on easing travel conditions.

On Monday, the two sides inked five MOUs aimed at the expansion of bilateral cooperation in various sectors.

The documents were signed by senior officials of the two countries in the presence of President Rouhani and Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad.

Facilitating travel and tourism

Underlining an MOU on facilitating the travel conditions between the two countries, Rouhani said “It was decided that the visa issuance will remain mandatory but it will be free of charge.”

“This protocol will first be implemented by the Islamic Republic of Iran and soon after Iraq will announce officially conform to the agreement.” The president added.

Rouhani once again expressed Iran’s readiness for developing relations with Iraq in various sectors, including energy, and connecting the two countries’ railways, which he believed could be a major step in developing economic and tourism relations between the two sides.

The MOU in this regard will lay the groundwork for the construction of a 35-kilometer cross-border railroad that connects Iranian town of Shalamche to the Iraqi city of Basra.

Boosting the trade turnover to $20b

Elsewhere in his remarks, the president noted that “Iranian companies are ready to enter Iraq’s market and to supply the country with its needs in order to achieve an acceptable level of trade between the two countries.”

Stressing the fact that Iran is determined to increase the value of trade with Iraq from the current $12 billion to $20 billion, he said, "Facilitating banking relations and implementing the agreements that are reached in this regard could be a great opportunity for both sides.”

Further in the event, the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi for his part expressed satisfaction with the positive negotiations and agreements reached between the two sides, saying, “We are determined to develop all-out relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. In this regard, we support the presence and cooperation of the businessmen and investors of the two countries.”

22 agreements reached in industry, trade sectors

On the sidelines of the event the Iranian Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Reza Rahmani who is accompanying the president in his visit to the neighboring country, also held meetings with the Iraqi ministers of industry and trade.

As reported by Shata, during these meetings the two sides reached 22 agreements in various areas of trade and industry cooperation.

Part of Iraq’s dues to Iran settled

On the sidelines of the Iranian delegation’s high profile visit to Iraq, The Governor of Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnaser Hemmati also held talks with his Iraqi counterpart Ali al-Allaq on Monday to discuss ways of implementing a mutual agreement reached by the two sides on February 5.

In the meeting, the two sides also discussed ways of facilitating banking cooperation, launching Iranian bank branches in Iraq and using local currencies instead of dollar in trade exchanges.

In a report, the CBI also announced on Monday that Iraq has settled first part of Iran’s claim for exports to the country.


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