July 27, 2020
The Secretary-General of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce announced that the volume of Iran’s non-oil exports to Iraq dropped forty percent in the second quarter of 2020.
According to the Iranian Chamber of Commerce website, Hamid Hosseini said that in the second quarter of this year, Iran exported five million tons of non-oil goods worth $ 1.45 billion to Iraq.
Based on the same report, Iran’s non-oil exports to Iraq decreased by “forty percent” in terms of volume and 38.3% in terms of value, compared with the same period last year.
In addition to the U.S. government sanctions, the coronavirus outbreak crisis that led to the closure of borders between the two countries has also contributed to the decrease in trade.
Iran and Iraq have seven border crossings that have been reopened except the “Chazzabeh” in Khuzestan, southwest Iran. Chazzabeh crossing, one of the country’s most significant border passages, was scheduled to open on July 26.
The sharp decline in trade between the two countries comes as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently announced that Tehran and Baghdad were targeting to increase their mutual trade by up to $ 20 billion a year.
The prime minister of Iraq Mustafa al-Kadhimi just paid a visit to Iran in recent days and his hosts trumpeted agreements meant to boost mutual business and trade. However, due to U.S. sanctions Baghdad seems to be reluctant in engaging in broader economic relations with Tehran. Before U.S. sanctions Iraq was Iran’s second biggest trading partner after China.
Iranian government officials say the total trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to $ 12 billion a year. However, since the Islamic Republic stopped providing data on its foreign trade at the beginning of 2019, the details concerning the current volume and value of Iran’s imports and exports cannot be determined.