News ID: 259826
Published: 0354 GMT October 06, 2019

Iran-Iraq trade to increase to $20b: Minister

Iran-Iraq trade to increase to $20b: Minister

Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Reza Rahmani said on Sunday that Iran and Iraq have the potential to increase the volume of their bilateral trade to $20 billion by 2021.

The minister said that the current level of trade between the two countries stands at $12 billion, reported Mehr News Agency.

Rahmani said that developing relations with neighboring countries is a priority for his ministry as well as exchange of trade delegations, holding exhibitions in both countries, and the establishment of an Iranian permanent exhibition in Iraq.

He further referred to the increase in the number of border crossings on the shared borders with Iraq, describing the launch of Shalamcheh-Basra railway as a good opportunity to develop Iran-Iraq trade relations.

A senior source active in Iran’s trade with Iraq said in August that the Arab country is to deposit several billions of US dollars in an account in an Iraqi bank to pay for imports of energy from Tehran as well as for other debts.

Seyyed Hamid Hosseini said that $4-5 billion will be deposited to the special account in the Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) to settle Iraq’s debts to Iran, including those related to the imports of electricity and gas over the past years, based on a recent agreement between governments of the two neighboring countries.

Hosseini, who serves as the secretary of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce, said that authorities from the two countries had agreed to use the account as a special financial instrument to evade US sanctions on Iran and allow Tehran to pay for imports of non-sanctioned goods through the account.

Hosseini said businessmen and private sector activists had currently no major problems doing trade between Iran and Iraq, adding that the TBI mechanism had been expected to accommodate government-to-government transactions between the two countries. 

Iran is still the number one supplier of natural gas and electricity to Iraq despite growing pressure from the United States which seeks to cut the exports to zero.

Baghdad has secured rounds of waivers from US sanctions, insisting that it has no alternative to replace energy imports from Iran.

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