Tehran, June 20, IRNA - Head of Industries Commission of Joint Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines said here Friday volume of two countries' trade that was one billion US dollars in Iranian year 1385 (2006) reached $2.8 billion in 1386 and is expected to stand at 4bn by end of 1387 (March 20th, 2008).
Mahmoud Hojjati who was speaking on the verge of convening the first joint conference-exhibition on opportunities for making investments in two countries' medical drugs and health sectors on June 28th in Tehran, added, "Since Iraq has lots of religious commonalties with Iran, our strategy is achieving a greater share of Iraq's market each year."
He referred to the existence of positive diplomatic relations between Iran and Iraq, arguing, "Despite the entire proximity factors between the two countries contributing to boosting trade volume, Iran is currently Iraq's 3rd trade partner and therefore, this Chamber of Commerce, a private organ that is harmonized with the government and other concerned organs, tries to improve that rank."
Hojjati expressed delight over holding the meeting on making joint investments in medical and medicine field in Tehran, pointing out, "Last year, too, we had similar expert level gatherings and special exhibitions on energy, banking, insurance, and petrochemistry, and this year we hope to hold other conferences on construction and related series, food industries, hotel industry and tourism, reconstruction of Iraqi industries, oil and gas exhibition, and a conference-exhibition on water and electricity, both in Iran and in Iraq, aimed at boosting Iran's exports."
On economic security in Iraq and the region, he reiterated, "It has now been five years since the Iraqi new government has taken charge of the affairs there and many manufacturers and exporters are currently conducting business activities with Iraqi partners." He added, "Paying attention to our country's trade volume with Iraq proves that economic security does exist there, and we know that Iraqi and foreign business firms are currently active in the south, the north and Shi'a districts of Iraq."
The Iranian official said, "Iran and Iraq have nine shared border trade regions and branches of the Iranian banks have already been opened in Iraqi cities that present trade privileges to the merchants and exporters, such as assistance in holding special and permanent exhibitions, and beneficial bonuses to the exporters of goods to Iraq."
Referring to the entry and exit of a large number of Iranian and Iraqi merchants and pilgrims to both countries daily, adding, "Iranian medicines have lots of consumers in Iraq, but due to lack of after sale services other drugs replace them in the long term, which is why establishment of representative offices and propagation in the field is a bare necessity."
Hojjati added, "Keeping in mind the two countries' high trade volume it is easy to tell that the sanctions have had no negative effect on Iran-Iraq trade, while the presence of Iraqi business delegation at above mentioned gatherings is opposing the sanctions in a way."
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