Tehran, Baghdad take new steps for expanding economic ties

May 30, 2021 - 16:17

TEHRAN - Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Abdul-Amir Allawi has visited Iran on top of a high-ranking delegation to hold talks with senior Iranian officials for discussing ways of expanding economic ties between the two neighbors.

Upon arrival on Saturday, Allawi met with Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Farhad Dejpasand in which the two sides discussed various issues including customs cooperation, joint investment, transportation, and settling Iraq’s energy debts to Iran, etc.

In this meeting, Dejpasand pointed to the improvement in the level of trade between the two countries and noted that considering the potentials and capacities of the two sides, although the growth in trade exchanges is significant it is still unsatisfactory.

“Given the long history and common culture between Iran and Iraq, we need to take special measures to develop economic relations between the two countries as well,” he said.

Speaking to the press following the meeting, Dejpasand announced that the two sides in the meeting reached some positive agreements regarding customs, transport and investment cooperation.

“We agreed on exchanging experiences in the field of customs activities,” he said, adding: "The head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration is scheduled to visit Iraq soon and hopefully more measures will be taken for developing relations."

Increasing joint investment was another subject discussed between the two sides, the Iranian minister said.

“We have decided to establish a special organization in this regard to increase the volume of foreign investment of the two sides by creating new industrial parks or in other forms,” Dejpasand explained.

The finance minister mentioned the development of cooperation in passenger and freight rail transport between the two countries as another issue agreed upon in his meeting with the Iraqi counterpart and expressed hope that this cooperation would develop as soon as possible.

Allawi for his part expressed satisfaction with the agreements reached in the meeting.

Settling energy debts

Another major issue that was discussed between the two sides was Iraq’s energy debts to Iran. In the course of the talks, the two sides negotiated a schedule and ways for repaying Iraq’s energy debts to Iran.

Allawi also met with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian on the same day to discuss settling his country’s natural gas dues in detail with the Iranian ministers.

In this meeting, Zanganeh noted that Iran is ready to even boost its natural gas exports to Iraq and expressed hope that the Iraqi government would settle its dues to Iran soon.

Allawi was accompanied by Iraqi Electricity Minister Majid Mahdi Hantoush, and the Governor of Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) Salem Jawad Abdul Hadi Al-Jalabi in this meeting.

At the end of the meeting, the two sides agreed on holding some specialized meetings in the upcoming weeks in order to finalize protocols for settling the energy debts.


Photo: Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Farhad Dejpasand (R) and his Iraqi counterpart Ali Abdul-Amir Allawi hold talks in Tehran on Saturday.

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