IRNA: Iraq is considered Iran's second trade partner thanks to a 17.5 percent increase of non-oil export in the first four months this year compared to the same period last year, deputy Commerce Minister said on Tuesday.
Mehdi Ghazanfari said that the volume of Iran-Iraq trade stood at dlrs 1.216 billion last year which included only dlrs 16 million import from Iraq. Last year's export to Iraq included 7.5 percent of the total non-oil export from Iran, he noted. Ghazanfari, who is also director general of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran (TPOI), added that Iran supplies 56 percent of requirements of Iraqi markets including aquatic products, vegetables, fruits, carpet, shoes, ceramics and glass vessels.
Dispatching trade delegations, holding solo exhibitions and taking part in international fairs will pave the ground for more presence of Iranian businessmen in Iraq, he noted. Pointing to potentials in exporting technical and engineering services to Iraqi markets as TPOI future programs, he said that according to the current situation in Iraq, Tehran prefers to export technical and engineering services through bolstering Iranian active companies. Ghazanfari further noted that the organization is to make active Arvand Free Trade Zone and invest in its infrastructures aimed at expanding trade ties with Iraq.
According to the official, Khorramshahr, Khuzestan province, enjoys the best geographical potential to turn into an actual free trade zone. The TPOI head also underlined the need for boosting links between banks of the two countries as well as permanent exhibitions of export commodities in Iraq particularly in Kurdistan province. Turning to the existing needs of Iraqi people to different types of commodities as well as technical and engineering services, he noted that Iran gives priority to expansion of economic and trade ties with Iraq more than any other regional country.