BAGHDAD: A new convoy of approximately 20 trucks of Jordanian industrial exports is expected to cross the Karameh-Turaibil border crossing to Iraq today, head of the Amman Chamber of Industry, Ziad Homsi, told The Jordan Times on Sunday.
Jordan is resuming the industrial exports to Iraq one month after the reopening of the border crossing between the two countries after the Iraqi forces gained control of the main highway to Baghdad from Daesh militants, following a two-year closure due to security conditions. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Hani Mulki expressed his hope that the reopening of the border would be an opportunity to promote bilateral trade and investment.
He called on the private sector in both countries to “cooperate and benefit from this positive step”. President of the Jordanian Businessmen Association Hamdi Tabbaa stressed that this would contribute to reversing the recession, pointing out that the Iraqi market is a “major destination for Jordanian exports and a priority for Jordanian industrialists and businessmen”.
“However, we are still facing the customs duty that Iraq has implemented to all exports to the country,” Homsi said, noting that the Amman Chamber of Industry is “hoping the Iraqi government would respect the bilateral agreement signed in 2009 allowing Jordanian products in the country without customs duty”. When asked about the chamber’s expectations regarding the future exports, Homsi stated that “the numbers will increase day by day with or without the customs duty”.
“The value of the exports to Iraq per year stands at JD400 million at the moment, but we are hoping to reach the value prior to the closing of the border, setting the objective at JD900 million,” he said. The agricultural exports to Iraq were resumed earlier this month, with a total of 3,200 tonnes of fruits exported to the Iraqi market by September 27, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Before the border closure, a total of 100 refrigerated trucks carrying 2,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables were travelling daily to the neighbouring country according to agriculture sector representatives, who added that the border closure resulted in a drop in fruit and vegetable exports by 70 per cent.
Ministry of Agriculture Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin said in recent remarks that he expects the amount of exports to increase soon. “The fact that 113 refrigerated trucks transported agricultural exports to the Iraqi border is actually a very good indicator that the volume of agricultural exports will return to its previous levels gradually,” he highlighted.