Iraq Industry & Trade News


As Iraq Sanctions Iran Trade, Saudi Arabia Boosts Border Crossing

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

By Kamal al-Ayash.

As Iraq Sanctions Iran Trade, Saudi Arabia Boosts Border Crossing

Opening the Arar border crossing on Iraq’s border with Saudi Arabia could help locals economically. But analysts say it’s also about international influence.

“Work is underway to re-open Arar for commercial purposes before the upcoming Haj season in a manner that benefits both Iraq and Saudi Arabia,” said Abdul Aziz al-Shammari, the Saudi ambassador to Iraq. In a televised interview announcing that the border crossing is to be permanently opened, he said that the Iraqi and Saudi sides have agreed on everything required for the reopening of the crossing for commercial purposes.

This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia announced its approval for the reopening of the border crossing, and with every such announcement voices supporting normal relations with Saudi Arabia are heard. Local residents also say the border crossing opening will boost economic recovery in the area.

However, the issue of ownership of the border crossing remains a significant stumbling block: It is located within the borders of the Nukhayb district, approximately 300 kilometres southwest of Ramadi, which is in the Anbar province .

The Nukhayb district was created in 1960 and remained part of Anbar province’s Rutba district until 1978 when it was annexed to Karbala for 14 months. It was returned to the Anbar province in 1979 as a result of a crisis between the local population of the Nukhayb district and Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr, a former President of Iraq, after which it became a separate district in 2016, following a vote by Anbar provincial council members.

The Arar crossing point is located on the Iraqi-Saudi border, 97 kilometres southwest of the Nukhayb district, and since 2003 has officially only opened during the pilgrimage season so that Iraqi pilgrims can travel to the holy site of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The border crossing has two routes; the first passes through the Karbala province and the second passes through the Anbar province.

The local government in the Anbar province highlights the success of its security and service operations every pilgrimage season, while at the same time stressing that this is done without financial allocations to the border crossing. It is also a way of confirming its ownership of the Nukhayb district and the Arar border crossing.

Taha Abdul Ghani, a member of the Anbar provincial council, told NIQASH that “no province other than Anbar has the right to administrate the Arar border crossing, as all documents prove that the Nukhayb district and Arar border crossing fall within the administrative borders of the Anbar province. Any other claim is a slander and a violation of Anbar’s rights.”

“Anbar province has administrated the Nukhayb sub district for 15 years. It allocated huge amounts of money to services and projects in the Nukhayb district in support of all sectors, as well as for logistical services to ensure the success of security plans and the travel of pilgrims through the Arar border crossing.”

In addition to its importance for commercial and tourism purposes, the Saudi-Iraqi border crossing is significant for various local and international political parties for political and security reasons. Observers and experts say that any developments related to the Nukhayb district tend to increase tensions and they stress that economic issues are not the only reasons.

“Controlling the Nukhayb district and the Arar border crossing from the Iraqi side has one specific reason,” retired military man, Mohammed Kartan explains. “Anbar wants to maintain the border crossing with its Sunni environment, specifically the Gulf, and Karbala and Najaf want to impose their control and influence to isolate Sunni elements from their support in the Gulf.

“Whoever controls the Jdaidet Arar border crossing and the Nukhayb district controls important transportation routes between Iraq and Syria that were created when the Islamic State group occupied most of the cities of the Anbar province. These routes were created in an attempt to find alternative ways to bring financial and logistical support to Syria without having to pass through extremist-occupied areas.”

The reopening of the border crossing could serve as an important outlet for Iraqi and Saudi trade, but it is a painful economic blow to Iranian trade, which heavily and directly depends on the Iraqi market.

Kareem al-Nouri, a leader of the popular crowd forces, told NIQASH that “if we assume good intentions on the part of Saudi Arabia, the decision to resume business permanently at the Arar border crossing is a good and useful decision which restores relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. However, we believe that the decision is of a political nature and its timing is not appropriate, especially with the US sanctions on Iran.”

“The opening of the border crossing, which is located in a sensitive and important city that is still categorised as a disputed area, could trigger a real crisis that may evolve into a conflict,” al-Nouri said. “Announcing the opening of the border crossing at this time is not a popular decision and it should be reconsidered.”

Iraqi Compliance with Iran Sanctions will “Damage Iraq’s Economy”

By John Lee.

A former under-secretary at Iraq’s Ministry of Finance has said that  ministry has said that US sanctions on Iran will impact trade activity between Iraq and Iran and, should they persist, they will damage Iraq’s economy.

Fadhil Nabi told Rudaw:

“America’s sanctions on Iran will have impact on trade exchange and activity between Iraq and Iran as there is sizeable trade between the two countries in terms of oil and gas.”

According to the report, while countries are yet to sever trade ties, the impact is already being felt on Iran’s economy, with the rial rapidly losing value.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

Iraq, Jordan consider Joint Industrial Zone

Jordanian Prime Minister, Omar Razzaz, on Monday met with Iraqi Defence Minister, Irfan Hayali, to discuss the Jordanian-Iraqi relations.

Razzaz underlined the depth of the historic Jordanian-Iraqi relations and the keenness to enhance joint cooperation to serve the interests of both countries and their peoples.

The premier also pointed to the directives of His Majesty King Abdullah II to increase cooperation and integration between the two countries.

Hayali conveyed the greetings of Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, to the prime minister as well as his keenness to cooperate in all civil and military fields.

He pointed to the importance of the agreement signed yesterday between the two countries on military and security cooperation, exchange of expertise and information in the field of border protection, capacity development, and combating terrorism.

The meeting also dealt with the Turaibeel border crossing and the need to focus on promoting trade and investment exchange and establishing a joint industrial zone near the border between the two countries.

(Source: Petra)

New Investment Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced new investment opportunities in Iraq:

  1. Glass production, State Company for Glass and Refractories Industry (SCGR)
  2. Drugs and Medical Appliances (Samarra), State Company for Drugs and Medical Appliances

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

New Investment Opportunities in Iraq

By John Lee.

The National Investment Commission (NIC) has announced new investment opportunities in Iraq:

  1. Glass production, State Company for Glass and Refractories Industry (SCGR)
  2. Drugs and Medical Appliances (Samarra), State Company for Drugs and Medical Appliances

(Source: National Investment Commission)

(Picture: Business opportunity word cloud, from ibreakstock/Shutterstock)

KRG PM receives new Consul General of the Netherlands

The Prime Minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani, received the Netherlands new Consul General to the Kurdistan Region, Mr. Willem Consijn and his accompanying delegation.

Consul General Consijn stressed his country’s willingness to strengthen the relations with the Kurdistan Region.

Prime Minister Barzani congratulated Consul General Consijn on his new position and wished him success in his duties, assuring him of his government’s support during his mission.

He stressed Kurdistan Regional Government’s desire to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation, especially in the agriculture sector.

He also thanked the Dutch government for its humanitarian and military assistance to the Kurdistan Region, particularly in the field of the reform of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs.

Prime Minister Barzani’s recent visit to the Netherlands and his meeting with Prime Minister Mark Rutte was also discussed.

(Source: KRG)

Cabinet Approves Funding for Infrastructure Projects

The Cabinet held its weekly regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, and discussed progress in the implementation of measures to improve the delivery of essential services across Iraq.

It approved an allocation of 4 billion Iraqi dinars for the comprehensive and immediate maintenance of the soil barrier with Iran to protect Basra’s farms and oil fields from polluted water from the Iranian side.

It also voted to fund several key projects in Basra, Dhi Qar, Al-Muthana and Najaf provinces, and received a briefing on the Nebras petrochemical complex in Basra which will provide thousands of jobs and boost the local economy.

The Cabinet also discussed current and future plans to support the agricultural sector across Iraq.

The Cabinet approved the establishment of a consulate for the Republic of Lebanon in the city of Najaf.

(Source: Iraqi Govt)

Electricity Ministry Denies Saudi Solar Power Deal

By John Lee.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Electricity, Dr. Musab Sari al-Mudaris [Mussab Serri al-Mudaris] (pictured) has denied reports that he had told Bloomberg about an agreement to buy electricity from Saudi Arabia.

He said the statement from the news agency is incorrect.

Bloomberg had cited Mudaris as saying that Saudi Arabia agreed to build a 3,000-megawatt solar power plant in Saudi Arabia and sell the electricity to Iraq at $21 per megawatt-hour, a quarter of what it paid Iran for the imports.

Iran recently stopped supplying electricity to Iraq due “the accumulation of debts owed by Baghdad“.

(Source: Ministry of Electricity, Bloomberg)

Minister for Electricity Suspended

By John Lee.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi suspended Electricity Minister Qassim al-Fahdawi (pictured) on Sunday for what he described as the “poor performance of the sector“.

Protests against unemployment and poor public services turned violent earlier this month, with several protesters killed.

Many areas of Iraq are struggling to cope with insufficient electricity supply during the annual heatwave.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)