Shafaq News/ The head of the Turkish-Iraqi Industrialists and Businessmen Association, Nawaf Kilic, said that Turkish businessmen are making extensive efforts to increase Turkish foreign trade volume with Iraq to 50 billion dollars.
Turkish Anadolu News Agency quoted Kilic, “the Turkish brands make 90% of the Iraqi markets, and they are the most preferred”.
He pointed that the volume of Turkish foreign trade with Iraq exceeded 20 million dollars last year and that Turkish businessmen are aspiring to reach 50 billion dollars.
One of the most critical problems the Turkish businessmen working in Iraq face is getting a visa to the country.
The Turkish people receive a one-month visa upon their arrival to the border-crossings of the Kurdistan region. However, it does not grant access to Iraqi territory.
Kilic stressed that Turkish people with Kurdish visas should be able to travel to Basra.
Many businessmen cannot strengthen their commercial relationships with Kirkuk cities, Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra due to visa issues.
Demand for Turkish brands
Kilic mentioned that Iraq is considered the second big importer from Turkey, right after Germany, according to 2013 data. The commercial traffic between both countries experienced a downfall after ISIS invaded Iraq in 2014.
Export figures declined after 2014 to 10.8 billion, 8.5 billion, and 7.6 billion dollars.
Turkish exports to Iraq reached a yearly average of 9 billion dollars in the last period.
He added, “Iraq, ofcourse, is a vital partner for turkey among neighboring countries, when you wander in the Iraqi markets and malls, you would notice that 90% of the brands are Turkish”.
He also pointed, “all the brands available in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, Mersin, and Adana are also available in Duhok, Sulaymaniyah and Erbil. We can say there is a significant demand for Turkish brands in Iraq.
New border gates
Kilic said that the border gate of Khabur between turkey and Iraq is considered one of the busiest around the world, with about two thousand trucks daily.
Iraq has nine border gates with Iran while there is only one with Turkey, so businessmen are demanding the opening of 5 more gates to strengthen the trade.
The commercial traffic between Iraq and Turkey did not stop during the pandemic. However, necessary measures were taken on the borders.
Turkish contractors were getting projects in public and private sectors in Iraq for 5 billion dollars yearly until 2013, that number decreased because of the difficulties the region witnessed due to terrorist ISIS presence and Corona pandemic.
He claimed that around 1,500 Turkish companies are working in the north of Iraq, while there are approximately 2,000 Turkish companies all around the country.
Kurdistan region is considered a center for collecting and distributing Turkish products to all the provinces of the country. Turkish businessmen are working towards building more commercial relationships with Iraqi businessmen.
The commercial relationships with Sulaymaniyah are considered low compared to Erbil.
He also pointed that Turkish businessmen are working on strengthening commercial relationships with Sulaymaniyah, which is nearer to the Irani borders.