Turkiye-Iraq Trade to Reach $20 Billion with Development Road Project

Evaluating President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Iraq, Minister of Commerce Omer Bolat said, “It is aimed to reach $15 billion of exports with Iraq in the near term, and $20 billion of exports in 2030 with the completion of the Development Road Project.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make his first foreign visit after the March 31 Local Government Elections to Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, on April 22. Erdogan’s visit, which he is preparing to make after 12 years, is expected to shape the economic and commercial relations of the two countries, especially their political, diplomatic and security issues.

Minister of Trade Omer Bolat made evaluations about the commercial agreements planned to be signed within the scope of the visit, commercial relations between the two countries and the importance of the Development Road Project.

Pointing out that Iraq has always been one of the most important countries for Turkiye in terms of commercial and economic relations, Bolat stated that in the last 10 years, the share of exports to Iraq in general exports has always been 5% and above.

Bolat said that companies from every sector exported to Iraq, which was the third country to which Turkiye exported the most last year.

Exports of $3.4 billion in the first 3 months of 2024

Bolat stated that the trade volume between the two countries will be $24.2 billion in 2022 and $19.9 billion last year.

“Our exports to Iraq decreased by 7.2% compared to the previous year, reaching $12.8 billion in 2023. In the same period, our imports from Iraq decreased by 31.1%, reaching approximately $7.2 billion. While the foreign trade balance was in favor of our country, our foreign trade surplus was calculated at $5.6 billion last year.”

Bolat pointed out that exports increased by 24.5% in the first 3 months of 2024 compared to the same period last year, reaching $3.4 billion, and imports decreased by 46.2%, reaching $835 million. It is aimed to reach $15 billion of exports in the near future with Iraq, which our President will visit, and $20 billion of exports in 2030 with the completion of the Development Road Project.”

3 agreements are expected to be signed in the field of trade

Minister Bolat explained that during President Erdogan’s visit to Iraq, planned agreements include the “Joint Declaration on Establishing a Joint Economic and Trade Committee between the Ministries of Trade of both countries,” a “Protocol on Establishing a Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism in Product Safety and Technical Barriers to Trade,” and a “Memorandum of Understanding between the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce.”

Bolat also pointed out that it is important for investors to have a predictable business environment and a strong legal infrastructure. “In this context, the signing of the ‘Agreement on Mutual Promotion and Protection of Investments’ and the completion of the internal approval process of the ‘Double Taxation Prevention Agreement’, which was signed in 2020 and whose internal approval process was completed in our country, and its entry into force in Iraq, will increase investments between the two countries.”

“The Development Road Project will contribute to increasing exports to target countries”

Bolat also evaluated the importance of the Development Road Project, which will be discussed during the visit, and reminded that the project aims to facilitate trade, customs, visa and transit procedures in transportation between the Gulf Region and Europe.

Stating that the construction works of the project are planned to be carried out in 2025-2029 and the railways and highways are planned to be put into operation in 2030, Bolat continued his words as follows:

“Within the scope of the project, approximately 1176 kilometers of railway suitable for high-speed freight and passenger transportation and 1190 kilometers of highway will be constructed. Since the Development Road Project is expected to pass through various provinces in Iraq, proceeding from the city of Al-Anbar and the Persian Gulf, it is expected to have a positive impact on our exports to Iraq and our logistics capacity. With the project, it is expected that exports to Southeast Asian countries, especially the Middle East and Gulf regions, will be triggered and will have positive reflections on our export figures.”

Bolat pointed out that the project will also support the increase of Turkiye’s exports to target countries and stated that the project will also contribute to the implementation of the “Remote Countries Strategy”, to which they attach great importance.

“Leaving security concerns in the region behind will open new horizons in commercial relations.”

Regarding the latest situation in the works to open the Ovakoy Border Gate, Bolat said, “It is obvious that the Habur-Ibrahim Halil border gates are insufficient to meet the trade volume between the two countries. In this context, negotiations continue to be held with the Iraqi authorities in order to open the Ovakoy-Fisabur border gates.”

Stating that leaving security concerns in the region behind will open new horizons for deepening the commercial relations of the two countries, Bolat noted that significant progress will be made for the effective and efficient operation of the Development Road Project.

Source: Trthaber / Prepared by Irem Yildiz

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