Monday, 18 June 2012, 08:11 GMT
Iran benefits from over USD 4 billion of trade with Kurdistan annually

A visitor stands in front of the booth of an Iranian paint production company during the Iranian Trade Fair in Erbil, June 2012./GLOBE PHOTO/Safin Hamid

The Kurdish Globe

The seventh solo exhibition of the Islamic Republic of Iran held in Erbil

The seventh solo trade fair of the Islamic Republic of Iran was held in Erbil between June 13th and 17th 2012.

The exhibition that was attended by 165 Iranian companies from 19 provinces of the country specialized in the fields of food, carpets, cosmetics, clothes, agriculture, construction and a number of other sectors.

Fatehi, Spokesperson of the West Azerbaijan Province Fairground, stated during the opening ceremony of the exhibition that the exhibitors participating in the fair were from the best known exporters of Iran, and that they are planning to hold 4 more exhibitions in Erbil this year.

Kermanshahi, Deputy Director of Iran's Development and Trade Board, claimed that Iran made USD 48 billion of exports in non-oil products last year.

"Out of this volume, USD 5.2 billion belongs to Iraq, and more half of this was generated from the Kurdistan Region alone,' explained Kermanshahi. "Only in engineering and technical services, Iran has revenue of USD 4.2 billion outside the country, 25% which comes from Iraq."

Kermanshahi also added that this year they are expecting a total of USD 75 billion in non-oil exports, USD 10 billion of which comes from Iraq.

Although, the trade volume between Iran and Kurdistan Region was approximately USD 3 billion in 2011, this rate is expected to raise by USD 1 billion in 2012, since according to Kermanshahi the total trade volume between Iran and Iraq is expected to be USD 7.5 billion, and if 60% of this belongs to the Kurdistan Region, then the total trade volume with Kurdistan reaches over USD 4 billion.

Nawzad Hadi, the Governor of Erbil, appreciated the historically positive relations between the Kurdistan Region and neighboring Iran, and reiterated his governorate's support to keep the Haji Omaran border crossing with Iran open 24/7 to facilitate the trade activities of the Iranian and Kurdish traders on the border.

More than 500 Iranian companies are currently doing business in Kurdistan Region and this number is increasing on an ongoing basis.

The Iranian authorities that attended the exhibition complained that 10% of the trade agreements between their country and the Region have not been implemented, especially in terms of transportation links and standardization of roads.

However, as now there are various projects in Haji Omaran under construction with a total budget of IQD 18 billion (approximately USD 15 million), it is expected that parts of the problems can be resolved.

Haji Omaran is a strategic point where large amounts of capital are transferred from the Kurdistan Region to the pockets of Iranian traders and businessmen. This is the very reason why the Iranian authorities attach great importance to their ties with Kurdistan, highlighted by a keenness to hold a number of future trade fairs.