September 18, 2021

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Iran’s exports to Iraq impacted by bureaucracy, high tariffs

TEHRAN – Setting high tariffs and complicated visa issuance procedures for Iranian businessmen by the Iraqi government has been negatively affecting the Islamic Republic’s exports to the Arab neighbor, a member of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce board of directors said.

“Iraq has imposed severe restrictions on issuing visas to Iranian businessmen and has increased import tariffs, which is hurting Iranian exports to the country,” the portal of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICIMA) quoted Sha’ban Foroutan as saying.

The official noted that due to such restrictions and lack of comprehensive trade views regarding the development of exports, Iran is lagging behind its rivals in the Iraqi market, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Unfortunately, customs tariffs for exports to Iraq have increased, which increases the cost of goods exported to Iraq. As a result, it has reduced our competitiveness in this market, he said.

Foroutan further noted that the government should support exporters and provide incentives for them to ensure the improvement of trade with the neighboring countries.

Referring to the expectations of businessmen and traders from the new government, Foroutan said: “One of our proposals is to establish an economic working group between Iran and Iraq, with a focus on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the private sector, to be able to raise and follow up problems directly.”

Although, our trade with Iraq has increased compared to the previous year due to the resolution of some of the problems related to the coronavirus pandemic, but overall, the volume of trade between Iran and Iraq has declined, leaving Iran behind competitors such as Saudi Arabia, China and Turkey, he regretted.

However, according to Foroutan, Iraqis are more willing to cooperate with Iran than trade with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan due to cultural and religious ties.

Iranian businessmen should look for new products and markets in Iraq because the situation is constantly changing. For example, in the past, Iran was the top exporter of cement to Iraq, but now Iraq has eliminated the need to import Iranian cement by building cement factories, he said.


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