The Secretary of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce said the obstacles to banking interaction between the two neighbors have been settled and the bilateral trade exchange is fairly normal.

In comments at a televised program on Sunday night, Hamid Hosseini said the problems with banking relations between Iran and Iraq have been resolved and the process of exports to Iraq as well as trade exchange with the Arab country has become stable and much better than before.

Iranian exporters’ concerns about trade with Iraq under a currency agreement have been addressed, the official noted, expressing hope that the process of steady trade exchange with Iraq would continue in the coming Iranian year.

Hosseini pointed to a 32-strong delegation of Iranian private sector’s business people accompanying President Hassan Rouhani in an ongoing trip to Iraq, saying the presidential visit will produce perfect results for the private sector.

A large number of technical and engineering projects worth 7 to 8 billion dollars which Iranian private sector companies were carrying out in Iraq have remained unfinished since the rise of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in 2014, the official said, hoping that Rouhani’s trip would help address the issue.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Rouhani left Iran for Iraq at the official invitation of Baghdad.

It is Rouhani’s first official visit to Iraq during his tenure.

In February, governors of the central banks of Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to develop a payment mechanism aimed at facilitating banking ties between the two neighboring countries.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Tehran in November, Rouhani said the value of trade and economic interaction between Tehran and Baghdad stands at around $12 billion, adding that the two neighbors have the potential for a $20-billion trade target.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

The governor of the Central Bank of Iran unveiled plans for using non-dollar accounts for oil and gas trade with Iraq.

Abdolnaser Hemmati on Wednesday held a meeting with presidents of Iraqi banks, members of Iraq’s chamber of commerce and the Arab country’s business people during a trip to Baghdad.

In the gathering, the top Iranian banker unveiled a new mechanism to continue Iran’s trade with Iraqi businesses, saying the CBI is going to open euro and dinar-based accounts to process transactions for trade in oil and gas.

Describing Iraq as Iran’s major partner, Hemmati said the two countries have agreed to make the banking ties much stronger.

“According to the agreements, Iranian exporters should be able to continue activities via Iraqi banks, and Iranian banks could also open dinar accounts in Iraqi banks.”

He also stated that Iraqi companies can reciprocally open accounts in Iranian banks and conduct transactions in dinar.

In December 2018, Chairman of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Yahya Ale-Eshaq said the central banks of Iran and Iraq were finalizing negotiations to begin trade in their own currencies.

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim has made it clear that his country cannot cut off trade ties with Iran under the US sanctions, saying the value of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to $12 billion.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

The governor of the Central Bank of Iran unveiled plans for using non-dollar accounts for oil and gas trade with Iraq.

Abdolnaser Hemmati on Wednesday held a meeting with presidents of Iraqi banks, members of Iraq’s chamber of commerce and the Arab country’s business people during a trip to Baghdad.

In the gathering, the top Iranian banker unveiled a new mechanism to continue Iran’s trade with Iraqi businesses, saying the CBI is going to open euro and dinar-based accounts to process transactions for trade in oil and gas.

Describing Iraq as Iran’s major partner, Hemmati said the two countries have agreed to make the banking ties much stronger.

“According to the agreements, Iranian exporters should be able to continue activities via Iraqi banks, and Iranian banks could also open dinar accounts in Iraqi banks.”

He also stated that Iraqi companies can reciprocally open accounts in Iranian banks and conduct transactions in dinar.

In December 2018, Chairman of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce Yahya Ale-Eshaq said the central banks of Iran and Iraq were finalizing negotiations to begin trade in their own currencies.

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim has made it clear that his country cannot cut off trade ties with Iran under the US sanctions, saying the value of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to $12 billion.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdonnaser Hemmati said Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi has voiced “his firm support” for the banking deal reached between the two countries on Tuesday night and called for its rapid implementation.

“After a long and four-hour meeting last night with the governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, I had a very good and constructive meeting with the Prime Minister of Iraq on Wednesday, February 6,” Hemmati said in a post on social media.

“I appreciated his determination to develop political and economic relations between the two countries,” he wrote.

“He declared his firm support for the two sides’ banking agreement and urged the governor of Iraq’s Central Bank to quickly pursue and implement the deal,” Hemmati stated.

In a meeting between Hemmati and his Iraqi counterpart, Ali Mohsen al-Allaq, in Baghdad on Tuesday night, the agreement to develop a payment mechanism aimed at facilitating banking ties was signed.

In addition to natural gas and electricity, Iraq imports a wide range of goods from Iran including food, agricultural products, home appliances, and air conditioners.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Tehran in November, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the value of trade and economic interaction between Tehran and Baghdad stands at around $12 billion, adding that the two neighbors have the potential for a $20-billion trade target.

Rouhani hoped that cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad would contribute to regional security and stability.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Governors of the central banks of Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to develop a payment mechanism aimed at facilitating banking ties between the two neighboring countries.

The deal on the payment mechanism was signed in a meeting between Iran’s Abdolnaser Hemmati and Iraq’s Ali Mohsen al-Allaq in Baghdad on Tuesday night.

Speaking at the meeting, Hemmati described Iraq as Iran’s biggest trade partner and said banking relationship is the factor needed for the durability of bilateral ties between the two countries.

Hemmati further pointed to the US sanctions against Iran and said by waging an economic war against the Islamic Republic, Washington has made extensive efforts to disturb the economic and political conditions of Iran.

However, he added, with the arrangements made by Iran, fortunately, the enemy plots have been thwarted and the Iranian economy has become stable.

In addition to natural gas and electricity, Iraq imports a wide range of goods from Iran including food, agricultural products, home appliances, and air conditioners.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Tehran in November, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the value of trade and economic interaction between Tehran and Baghdad stands at around $12 billion, adding that the two neighbors have the potential for a $20-billion trade target.

Rouhani hoped that cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad would contribute to regional security and stability.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

The central banks of Iran and Iraq are finalizing negotiations to begin trade in their own currencies, chairman of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce said.

Speaking to Tasnim, Yahya Ale-Eshaq said negotiations between the central banks of Iran and Iraq are under way to reach an agreement on using rial and dinar in bilateral trade.

Once finalized, the agreement would allow the banks of the two countries to issue letters of credit on the basis of Iranian rial and Iraqi dinar, he added.

Ale-Eshaq also noted that the value of Iran’s exports to Iraq in the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 21- November 21) reached $8 billion, equal to the total amount of exports to Iraq in the previous year.

On Saturday, secretary general of Iran-Iraq joint chamber of commerce, Hamid Hosseini, said the daily value of Iran’s exports to Iraq stands at $45 million and sometimes reaches $70 million.

Iraq’s new Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim has made it clear that his country cannot cut off trade ties with Iran under the US sanctions, saying the value of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to $12 billion.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

Iran’s private banks have reportedly laid the groundwork for setting up a joint bank with their counterparts in Iraq.

Yahya Al-e Es’haq [Yahya Ale-Ishaq] (pictured), head of Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, is quoted as saying that the bank would operate under the regulations of central banks of the two countries to facilitate money transfer.

(Source: Xinhua)

(Picture Credit: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

By Abbas Sarhan.

The Iranian banking system was seen as an attractive alternative to Iraq’s shaky financial institutions. But a recent, drastic devaluation in the Iranian rial means Iraqi money is stuck over the border.

Depositing money in Iranian banks has been popular in Iraq since around 2012, and even more so since 2014, and the security crisis caused by the extremist group known as the Islamic State.

In the southern city of Karbala, it was a popular move for people who had sold property, especially after the decline of prices in the Iraqi real estate market since June 2014 and the beginning of the security crisis.

But in fact, small and mid-sized Iraqi investors have been putting money into Iranian banks since 2012, when the Iranian authorities significantly increased the interest rate on savings in a bid to get more currency flowing into their sanctioned nation.

Iraqi investors were encouraged to deposit cash in Iran. Iraqis could change their money into Iranian rials, then deposit them with bank officers based in Karbala or Najaf, without ever having to leave home.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis took up the offer, says Mohammed Abbas, one of the locals who also did so: He put US$500,000 in Iranian banks.

“It was too tempting for anyone with a small or medium sized deposit,” he explains. “Iraqis were afraid to invest their money in Iraq and there are really not many other opportunities for investment.” Abbas says that in the first three years he made good money off his deposits and he used the rials on his frequent trips to Iran.

However the situation has since deteriorated badly. The Iranian rial has recently lost a lot of value and even those Iraqis who had done well with the interest rates on their money, saw that extra cash wiped out. Now, Abbas says, Iraqi money is trapped in Iran. Depositors cannot withdraw their deposits for fear of wiping out half the value so they leave it there in the hope that the Iranian authorities may be able to revalue their own currency.

However the Iranian authorities appear to only have been able to take limited steps. In April this year, Iranians arrested as many as 90 foreign exchange traders, accusing them of raising the price of foreign currencies against the rial, and suspended activities in ten foreign exchange bureaus. They also tried to set the exchange rate more favourably.

However these measures have not worked and thousands of Iraqis who deposited savings over the border remain frustrated. Anybody who does want to withdraw their cash needs to change the rial for dollars first. Iraqis must change their money on the black market.

Iranian banks only exchange dollars in specific situations and then only to Iranians. Even though the Iranian authorities have tried to set the exchange rate against the US dollar there, the black market exchange rate puts the dollar at significantly higher rates. Which still leaves Iraqi depositors in a bad way.

Iraqi economist Abdul-Hussein al-Rumi says there’s not much anyone can really do. That is the risk that Iraqi investors were taking and Iran’s economy and currency is unlikely to be able to withstand the new round of US sanctions.

Instead of taking their money out of Iran, al-Rumi suggests withdrawing the deposits, buying Iranian goods over the border and then selling them on the Iraqi market to try and reduce their losses and to get out of the Iranian banking system.

Iran’s president called for stronger banking relations with Iraq to allow for a growth in the bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

In a meeting with Iraq’s parliament speaker in Tehran on Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani said expansion of economic and trade ties between the two neighbors hinges on enhanced baking relations.

The central banks of Iran and Iraq need to promote cooperation and keep working together to contribute to the bilateral trade, he added.

The president also hailed the Iraqi government’s success to defeat terrorism and thwart the hostile plots to foment discord in the Arab country, reiterating Tehran’s support for an integrated Iraq and opposition to any change in the borders of regional countries.

For his part, Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri expressed gratitude to Iran for supporting his nation in the fight against terrorism.

Iraq is at the beginning of a new era, and looks for continued support from Iran on the road to development and reconstruction, the speaker added.

The Iraqi speaker is in Iran for the 13th Conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States (PUIC).

Iran, a close ally of Iraq, supported the Arab nation in the fight against Daesh (ISIL) since the terrorist group invaded Iraq in summer 2014.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s state-owned Rasheed Bank has applied for permission to set up a branch in Iran.

At a meeting on Sunday between Iran’s Minister for Industry, Mining and Trade, Mohammadreza Nematzadeh, and Iraqi Minister for Industry and Minerals, Mohammed Shia ‘Al Sudani, Minsiter Al Sudani said he hoped the application would be approved.

He pointed out that five Iranian banks have branches in Iraq.

(Source: Iranian Ministry for Industry)