Nov 16, 2012

Iraqi Kurdistan: Improved Economic Relations With Iran

The government of Iran and the Kurdistan Regional Government have agreed upon plans to improve economic and trade relations, beginning a ‘new season’ in the relationship between the two governments.

Below is an article published by Rudaw:

The first economic and trade development conference between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iran wrapped up on Tuesday [13 November 2012] in Erbil.

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Iranian Vice President Ali Saeedolu closed the conference with several decisions to improve economic and trade relations between the two countries. 

One of the decisions was to form a high committee to follow-up and resolve routine issues that cause delays to the transfer of goods at border points. In addition, the situation of people from Kurdistan who depend on the borders to make a living will be considered. 

Building an industrial area at the border points of Bashmakh and Parwez Khan was another decision finalized at the meeting.

The KRG and the Iranian government will make it easy for the private sector and businessmen to invest at a higher level in the Kurdistan Region. They will unify regulations to permit Iranian companies to enter the Kurdistan Region, and activate all previous trade agreements signed between the two sides.

A committee will be created to resolve problems that private sectors from both countries have faced. The committee will include representatives from the Ministry of Justice and its decisions will have legal credibility in the Kurdistan Region. 

The parties discussed the need for renovating the border points and providing them with necessary equipment.  An official letter must be sent to Baghdad to officially recognize the border points.

In regard to quality control at the border, it was decided that the KRG, Iranian government and Baghdad will unite their efforts to identify companies considered credible and give them quality control certificates so that they can bring goods into the Kurdistan Region. 

It was also decided to keep the border points open 24/7 and during holidays in order to make it easier for people to transfer goods at any time.

New banks and financial insurance institutions will be opened by the private sector after the decision is approved by the central government.

At a press conference following the meeting, Saeedlou hoped that the decisions made would bring new progress to the relationship between Iran and the KRG.   

KRG PM Barzani told the media, “We are happy to have the Iranian vice president here. Without a doubt, the Kurdistan Region and Iran have a historical relationship, and it is worth mentioning that Iran always helped the Iraqi Kurds during their oppression.”

“I believe that the vice president’s visit heralds a new season in our relationship,” PM Barzani added. “We discussed several problems that both sides have encountered while trading and discussed how to overcome these problems. We hope for a new season in the economic relationship between both sides.”