Syrian-Iraqi meeting to discuss enhancing trade exchange

Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Mohammad Samer al-Khalil, during the joint Syrian-Iraqi committee meeting - February 20, 2024 (SANA)

Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Mohammad Samer al-Khalil, during the joint Syrian-Iraqi committee meeting - February 20, 2024 (SANA)


The Iraqi Minister of Trade, Atheer Dawoud al-Ghurairy, inaugurated the work of the 12th session of the joint Iraqi-Syrian committee in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, with the presence of a ministerial delegation from the Syrian government.

The Iraqi Ministry of Trade said in a statement conveyed by the Iraqi News Agency (INA) that the work of the committee began in Baghdad, chaired on the Iraqi side by the Minister of Trade, Atheer Dawoud al-Ghurairy, and on the Syrian side by the Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Mohammad Samer al-Khalil.

The Iraqi minister said during the opening of the committee’s work that the vision of the Iraqi government is to “create balanced relationships in the region with our brethren based on the foundation of sustainable development and integrated economic interests, increasing the level of trade exchange, and overcoming obstacles standing in the way.”

He added that the Iraqi government is exerting “great efforts” to develop economic performance and provide a conducive environment to enhance foreign trade, encourage investment, and create joint industrial and commercial cooperation that contributes to increasing trade exchange rates with Syria.

He called on Iraqi-Syrian businessmen and companies to fully benefit from the distinguished relations between the two countries and to translate them into concrete cooperation projects in various fields.

For its part, the official Syrian news agency (SANA) said that the Syrian Minister of Economy, Mohammad Samer al-Khalil, confirmed Syria’s desire to develop and diversify bilateral trade and increase the level of imports and exports with Iraq.

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani, visited Syria once in July 2023, where he met with the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad. Subsequent to the meeting, official Iraqi statements confirmed Iraq’s readiness to discuss reviving the Iraq-Baniyas oil pipeline, as part of Iraq’s efforts to find new outlets for exporting Iraqi oil.

The Syrian-Iraqi economic relationship has been marked by many attempts at mutual benefit exchange, the most notable being in 2021 when the Iraqi Ministry of Oil talked about an imminent agreement to import Syrian gas into its territory, according to the Iraqi News Agency (INA), which was later retracted.

On May 2, 2023, the head of the Iraqi National Investment Commission, Haider Makiya, visited the Syrian capital Damascus, and met with his Syrian counterpart, Medin Diab, to discuss ways to enhance investment cooperation and activate the agreements signed between the two sides.

The Syrian side then presented an offer about the advantages, incentives, and tax and customs exemptions it grants to stimulate the investment environment, while the Iraqi side pointed to the necessity of prioritizing investment between the two parties, particularly in the sectors of textile, glass industries, agriculture, and engaging with businessmen and investors from both sides to outline the features of an investment relationship.

However, nearly a year after the meeting, the deliberations between the two sides have yet to bear fruit.


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