Imposition of strict restrictions on visa issuance for Iranian businessmen and increased tariffs are damaging Iran’s trade with neighboring Iraq, expert says.
In an interview with Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (ICCIMA) news website, Sha’ban Foroutan, a board member of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce, said that strong presence in the Iraqi market requires government support and granting export incentives.
“Due to the lack of trade views in the field of exports, Iran is lagging behind its trade rivals in the Iraqi market, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” he said.
Foroutan said that increased tariffs have reduced Iran’s competitiveness in the Iraqi market while he believed that due to cultural and religious proximities, the Iraqi people prefer to trade with Iran more than Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
He proposed that a working group has to be set up between Iran and Iraq led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the private sector so as to be able to raise and follow up on problems directly.
“The Iranian businesspersons have to be looking for new products and new markets in Iraq as the conditions are constantly changing,” he said, noting that Iran used to be the leading exporter of cement to Iraq in the not so distant past but due to constructing cement factories in Iraq, the country no more needs Iranian cement.
Iraq was the second-biggest export destination for Iranian products during the first four years of the Iranian fiscal year (March 21-July 22) importing some $2.8 billion worth of goods from Iran during the mentioned period.