Iranian, Iraqi ministers confer about energy, economy co-op

April 7, 2019 - 20:15

During the two-day stay of an Iraqi high-ranking delegation in Iran, the Iraqi ministers met their Iranian counterparts to discuss different areas of cooperation between the two neighbors.

Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi arrived in Tehran on Saturday morning at the head of a high-ranking economic and political delegation. He was accompanied by ministers of oil, finance, foreign affairs, planning, commerce, energy as well as national security advisor, army chief of staff, deputy interior minister, and a number of parliamentarians.

The visit came after Rouhani’s landmark visit to Iraq in March which marked the signing of several memorandums of understanding for expansion of cooperation in key sectors and meeting with top political and religious figures.

Iran to export 1500 MW of electricity to Iraq

After his meeting with Iraqi Minister of Electricity Louay Al Khateeb on Saturday, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian announced that Iran will export 1500 megawatts (MW) of electricity to Iraq, IRNA reported.

Iran's electricity is now exporting to Iraq and relative down payments have been made in due course, he said.

Al-Khateeb, for his part, described prospects of Iran-Iraq cooperation in the field of electricity as positive.

“We are optimistic about developing electricity industry in cooperation with Islamic Republic of Iran,” he noted.

About the export of gas and electricity from Iran to his country, the Iraqi official said, “We will continue imports from Iran until Iraq’ gas sector and power plants achieve self-sufficiency.” 

Energy imports from Iran are temporary and will last almost two or three years, he pointed out.

Iran, Iraq agreed on joint development of 2 oil fields

During a meeting between Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and his Iraqi counterpart Thamir Ghadhban on Sunday, the two sides agreed on the joint development of Naft Shahr and Khorramshahr joint oilfields, Shana reported.

Speaking in the meeting which was held during a visit to Energy Industries Engineering and Design Company (EIED), an affiliate to Oil Industries' Engineering and Construction Company (OIEC), the Iranian minister said that there are massive potentialities for expanding Iran-Iraq cooperation in oil, gas, refining and petrochemicals areas, and Iran is ready to offer its capabilities to the Iraqi oil industry.

He added that Thamer al-Ghadhban, during the visit to EIED, learned about the capacities of the company, and it was decided that a joint partnership be established between OIEC and a similar company in Iraq in order to develop joint capacity utilization.

The official further said that Iran had a lot of potentialities in the oil, gas, refining and petrochemicals sectors, adding: "Given the lack of development in the petrochemicals and gas industries in Iraq, there is a bright perspective for cooperation between the two countries."

He also said that Iran’s gas dues from Iraq stood at $1 billion already.

Incentives for doing business in Iraq

Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Farhad Dejpasand said Iranian traders will be provided with plenty of incentives to expand their presence in the Iraqi market, Mehr News agency reported.

Dejpasand made the remark after a joint meeting with Iraqi ministers of planning and finance in Tehran on Saturday.

“During the meeting with the two Iraqi ministers, we conferred on customs issues, facilitating business activities, the need for insurance, and joint ventures between the two countries,” he added.

Iraq is Iran's second largest trade partner, said Dejpasand, adding however that the volume of trade and economic transactions between the two countries is not desirable given the countries’ backgrounds, histories and cultures.

The Iraqi minister of planning, for his part, said the presence of nine ministers and a large number of Iraqi businessmen who have accompanied the Iraqi prime minister on this trip to Tehran reflects the interest of Baghdad in increasing the level of trade and economic exchanges with the neighboring country.

The Iraqi minister of finance also said that he would discuss with Iranian authorities the barriers and problems that exist for the development of trade transactions between the two sides.

Joint committee to be set up for industrial co-op

On the sidelines of his meeting with Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammad Hashim Abdul Majid Jasim, Iranian Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Reza Rahmani said a joint committee is to be set up between the two countries for following up the issues of cooperation, IRIB reported.

The Iraqi minister for his part said that his country welcomes Iranian investors in implementation of different projects in his country.

 Banking relations to be facilitated

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced on Sunday that Iran-Iraq banking relations will be eased to lubricate transactions between the two countries’ businessmen.

Making the remarks on the sidelines of his meeting with the Iraqi Finance Minister Fuad Mohammed Hussein in Tehran, Abdolnaser Hemmati said that regarding the ever increasing trade transactions between the two sides and Iran’s exports of gas and oil to Iraq besides Iranian private sector’s exports to the country, the exports volume from Iran to Iraq has increased recently up to $12 billion per year.

There are some banking difficulties about which negotiations were made with the Iraqi minister today and as accorded, to ease Iranian tradesmen’s activities in Iraq the impediments will be removed soon, CBI governor said.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi agreed on the future visit of Hemmati to Iraq.

The trip is aimed at finalizing and implementing financial and banking agreements between Iran and Iraq. 

Hemmati had visited Iraq last year to talk on using local currencies between the two countries. 

(Source: staff & agencies)

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