April 19, 2015
Iran’s commercial attaché in Baghdad, Ebrahim Mohammad-Rezazadeh on Saturday urged Iranian merchants and traders to make use of the unique opportunity offered by the Iraqi market for the export of their commodities, noting the aversion by Iraqi residents and traders to commodities from neighboring Turkey and Saudi Arabia due to the two countries’ alleged support for the IS extremist group.
“There is a growing tendency among the Iraqis for importing Iranian goods,” Mehr news agency quoted the official as saying.
He referred to reduced formalities at the six major border crossings with Iraq, pointing that the ground is ready for Iran to substantially increase exports, especially pharmaceuticals, to the neighboring country.
The Iraq government recently agreed to ease the stringent regulations it was previously imposing on imports from Iran, including strict quality control and inspection procedures. Baghdad has also acknowledged Iran’s National Standard Organization (INSO) as a qualified standardization body and announced that Iranian commodities that have undergone necessary quality checks by INSO are exempt from any further quality tests in Iraq.
Mohammad-Rezazadeh also urged Iranian businessmen to launch chain stores in Iraq with the aim of increasing sales as well as creating jobs for Iraqis. According to the official, so far 34 large stores have opened in different provinces of Iraq, with Iranian chain stores such as Refah and Etka also planning to open branches. Moreover, he noted that there is a good market for Halal food in Iraq.
He assured the Iranian businesses that most parts of Iraq are currently safe, encouraging them to invest in joint projects with Iraqi companies to increase profitability as well as overcome some formalities for selling their products. According to the official, suitable market exists in Iraq for sanitary products and construction material.
Mohammad-Rezazadeh described exclusive trade fairs as great platforms for Iranian companies to introduce their products.
More than 260 Iranian companies took part in the latest exclusive trade fair in Baghdad in February, showcasing various commodities ranging from building materials to car and medical equipment, foodstuff, petrochemical and engineering products.
Trade between Iran and Iraq has been on the rise in the past few years, with Iraq becoming Iran’s biggest export market. While Iraq’s exports to Iran has been minimal, including commodities such as iron scrap, tobacco and aluminum alloy, Iran has been exporting a wide range of commodities including mineral water, apples, yoghurt, biscuits, pistachio, cement, tiles, ceramics, etc. to its western neighbor.
With a population of more than 31 million, Iraq is a huge export market for Iran. Iraq also borders Turkey to the north, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest, and Syria to the west. Like many other countries in the region, Iraq’s economy is mainly dominated by oil, accounting for 95% of its foreign exchange earnings.