750 Iranian Projects in Iraq

24 November 2010
Iranian contractors are currently implementing 750 projects in Iraq, the head of Tehran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines said on Sunday.

Speaking at a press conference held at Tehran's Chamber of Commerce, Yahya Al-e Es'haq said that the projects include dam construction, road building, hotel building, oil, power plant and housing.

$4b Trade
He said Iran's annual investments in Iraq stand at $100 billion, which is a golden opportunity for the country.

Al-e Es'haq put the annual trade between the two neighbors at $4 billion. "If we included the technical-engineering services, the figure will reach $7 billion."

"We plan to increase the bilateral trade to $10 billion in future."

Referring to Iraq's market demands, Al-e Es'haq described the country as one of major venues for investment in the Middle East.

The official said an Iranian delegation is visiting Iraq to expand and deepen bilateral relations.

In addition to being a neighbor, Iraq shares historical ties with Iran and also has an especial situation that makes it one of the main places for economic investment in the Middle East, he said, adding Iraq can link Iran to other nations. The official continued that Iran boasts high technology and experience in infrastructural affairs which can expand its penetration in regional markets. Once the security is established in Iraq, Iran will face many rivals in Iraq market, he said.

"The government should pave the grounds for presence of Iranian bank in Iraq. If insurance, banking and finance issues are resolved in Iraq, Iran can play a prominent role in Iraq market."

Meanwhile, director general for Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce put the country's export to Iraq at $2.7 billion during March 21-Oct. 22.

Mohammad Sanjabi said the figure has grown by 6.5 percent in comparison with $2.5 billion trade in the same period of last year.

He pointed out that more than 332,000 Iraqis have traveled to Iran during March 21-Oct. 22.

"Considering $500 income from each Iraqi visitor, Iran has gained $170 million from their visit," Sanjabi added.

Meager Share
Iran has a share of 7 to 13 percent from Iraq's market, he said, expressing dissatisfaction over the amount given the country's huge potentials. More than 90 percent of Iraq's markets will be consumer-based economy within five years, the official predicted, and said "We hope to gain a greater share from Iraq's market during the next five years. Also member of Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce's Presiding Board Hamid Hosseini said Iraq is considered as an opportunity for Iran.

Currently, there is a new trade center in Iraq whose investor is ready to accept the sales units of Iranian commodities and distribute them in Iraq market.

The Iraqi investor gives sufficient guarantees to Iranian exporters, he added. Close to 50 giant Iraqi companies are to visit Iran in near future, Hosseini said.

In addition, Iraq chain stores have declared their readiness to distribute Iranian commodities.

He gave news that Iraq Eqlimi Bank will launch a branch in Iran in not-too-distant future.

Iran and Iraq have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during the 2003 US invasion of the Muslim country.

Both sides are working on a series of plans to take wide strides in the expansion of their ties, in economic fields in particular.

By Sadeq Dehqan

© Iran Daily 2010

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