Jan 13, 2021 07:11 UTC
  • Iran, Iraq see off Trump with new push to expand trade ties

Iraqi Trade Minister Alaa Ahmed al-Jubouri is visiting Iran to remove hurdles to further expansion of economic relations which are the target of US sanctions.

According to Press TV, the two Muslim neighbors are holding their fourth Joint Economic Committee meeting in Tehran after a six-year hiatus, with Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian saying they will sign new agreements in the fields of water and energy.

Since 2018, Iran and Iraq have set a five-year target to increase bilateral trade to $20 billion per year – a vision which Ardakanian reiterated on Tuesday - but it has been hampered by a combination of restrictions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, trade barriers and US sanctions.

Jubouri said he had arrived in Tehran Tuesday with a high-ranking delegation “to remove obstacles to increasing trade between the two countries”, Fars news agency reported.

The Iraqi minister underlined the importance of modern technologies which the two countries need to use in their transactions in order improve their economic relations.

Ardakanian said they needed new cooperation agreements on taxation, investment, preferential tariffs, and customs. The Iranian minister also underlined the importance of developing transportation routes between the neighbors.

In March 2019, they signed a preliminary agreement to build a railway linking the southern Iraqi oil city of Basra and the Iranian border town of Shalamcheh when President Hassan Rouhani visited Baghdad.

Apart from religious and cultural connections, Iran and Iraq share a nearly 1,500-kilometer-long border. Iran is one of Iraq’s biggest trading partners and the Arab country’s large consumer market is ideally suited to Iran’s non-oil trade plans.

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