The first gathering of Iranian and Iraqi trade and industrial players was held at Iran’s Embassy in Baghdad on Saturday.
Representatives of Iraq Chamber of Commerce Union, chambers of commerce of Iraqi provinces, union of industries and investment committee, as well as a number of Iraqi businessmen and investors from Iranian companies active in Iraq attended the gathering, which was coordinated by Iran’s Commercial Council in Iraq, IRNA reported.
The people taking part in the gathering underlined the expansion of bilateral relations and elimination of obstacles.
Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi also delivered a speech at the meeting and underlined the necessity of using the capacities to boost trade exchanges and investments between the two countries.
He said Iran has already declared to the Iraqi government that it is ready to remove visa barriers, but the Iraqi government has not yet taken any decision in this regard.
Iran has established a free trade zone in Khorramshahr and Abadan, which could prepare the grounds for the investment of Iraqis.
Iran’s commercial attaché, Nasser Behzad, said this is the first gathering of Iranian and Iraqi businessmen and investors at Iran’s Embassy in Baghdad following the official declaration of Iraq’s departure from Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.
According to Ebrahim Rezazadeh, secretary of Iraq’s Desk at Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Iran’s share of Iraqi market stood at 19.7% in the fiscal 2016-17. Iran exported 14.2 million tons of commodities worth $6.1 billion to Iraq last year, registering a 1.84% and 1.59% decline year-on-year.
“Statistics show Iran’s exports to Iraq stood at $3.168 billion during the six months to Sept. 22, registering a 5% rise year-on-year,” Deputy Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Ali Yazdani said.
As for Iraq’s exports to Iran, he added, the volume decreased between 2012 and 2016, going down from $96 million to $48 million.
Iran’s main exports to the neighboring country include agro products, foodstuff and fruits such as watermelon, tomato and cucumber. Other Iranian exports to Iraq include canned food, tomato paste, chicken, egg, meat, construction materials (mainly rebar, tiles and ceramics), steel and evaporative cooler as other commodities Iran exports to Iraq.
“Iranian companies need to compete with their Chinese and Turkish counterparts in the Iraqi market by increasing the quality of their products and embarking upon more efficient marketing and advertising,” Iraqi commercial attache to Iran, Shaker Razzaq Al-Da’mi, said.
A business conference attended by Iranian and Iraqi officials and businessmen was held in Tehran in October, organized by the Entrepreneurship Faculty of the University of Tehran, Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce and Iran-Iraq Economic Development Headquarters affiliated with the Presidential Office.