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Last Updated:[16-12-2009 06:46:59 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Iran Sends Team to Scout for More Business in Iraq

tradenews A trade delegation from Iran headed by the director of the provincial trade organization in Tehran Seyyed Ali Mousavi has arrived in Baghdad to improve trade ties with its Iraqi counterparts. This is the second time in this month a team from Iran is visiting Iraq, in the first week of the same month the Iranian envoy Kazemi Qomi to Iraq led a delegation to Baghdad to strengthen bilateral ties.

The five-day trip will largely focus on non-oil exports from Iran as such products are in great demand in Iraq for its quality and low prices. Iraq imports a wide variety of goods from Iran, including air conditioners, construction materials, office furniture, carpets, clothes, medicines, fish, spices and fruits.

Mousavi said that the 45-member delegation comprised of merchants of repute from various fields including food industry, home appliances, medical equipment and technical and engineering services. According to him, exports from Iran to Iraq reached $2.5bn during the first eight months of the Iranian calendar year (ended November 21).

Since the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003, exports from Iran to Iraq have witnessed massive growth, and currently Iraq is Iran's second-largest, non-oil export market. It should be noted that even vegetables are being imported from Iran as well as poultry, meat, canned foods, carbonated drinks, and dairy products particularly as they are cheaper and offer better quality than the local stuff.

Post Saddam era was also able to open up a wide range of trade opportunities between both countries providing a lopsided advantage to Iran through its exports and several contracts including $1.5bn housing construction in Basra and electrification of several cities and towns of Iraq. Apart from non-oil exports Iraqis sought healthcare facilities of Iran since that country offered cost efficiency against other nearby countries such as the UAE, Jordan and Egypt. Religious tourism is something which Iraq largely benefits through the exchanges; around 500,000 Iranian Shi'ite pilgrims visit Iraq every year.

The trade representatives besides meeting local merchants were also expected to meet Iraq’s acting minister of trade Safaa Al Deen Al Safy, said Mousavi. It is forecasted that Iranian exports of products to Iraq will soon go up to $4bn and exports of technical and engineering services and energy will reach $2bn.

By Jose Roy

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