Iran-Iraq exports rise with food accounting for 37% of goods traded

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Agro products such as watermelon, tomato, and cucumber are the main food items that Iran exports to Iraq. ©Getty Images
Agro products such as watermelon, tomato, and cucumber are the main food items that Iran exports to Iraq. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Exports, Iran, Currency

Iran’s export to Iraq, including food products, grew by 30% in the last seven months, the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce announced last week. Trade ties is set to deepen, despite US sanctions against Iran.

The growth was worth roughly US$6bn. Food, construction materials, and other daily items were the main exports, Yahya Al-e Eshaq, chairman of the chamber said during an interview with local media ILNA news agency.

Iran is a net exporter of food to Iraq. Food accounted for 37% of the total exports to Iraq.

Agro products such as watermelon, tomato and cucumber and processed food and poultry such as canned food, tomato paste, chicken, egg, and meat are the main food exports.

Economic, commercial, and political relationship between Iran and Iraq was strategic, necessary, and long-term, Eshaq said.

He described Iraq as a “very good export market”​ and that it was important for both sides to maintain and sustain the relationship.

Iran is already Iraq’s top trade partner and the two countries have plans to promote further trade. This is despite US sanctions against Iran.

"The economic trade between the two countries hits about US$12bn (per year) and, through bilateral efforts, we can raise this figure to US$20bn,”​ Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said, after meeting up with visiting Iraqi president Barham Saleh last week.

In addition, Iran is targeting the export of $6.5bn worth of food products annually by the fiscal year 2025/2026.

Bilateral monetary agreement

The central banks of the two countries were in talks to finalise a currency swap deal, in order to boost trade ties, Eshaq said.

Such a deal allows two institutions to exchange payments in one currency for equivalent amounts to facilitate bilateral trade. It also provides liquidity support to financial markets.

Eshaq said it was necessary to implement the bilateral monetary agreement between Iran and Iraq, saying that if the trade links between the two economies, with the Iranian rial and the Iraqi dinar, were met, many financial transfers could be resolved.

The current Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, had also revealed the plan to trade in Iraqi dinar instead of the US dollar, local media PressTV reported. 

 “Considering the problems that have emerged in dollar-based banking transactions, a joint proposal between Iran and Iraq is using Iraq’s dinar in trade,”​ Masjedi said. 

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