By John Lee.

Iraq’s national lockdown in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has reportedly given a boost to local businesses.

According to a report from AFP, local businesses no longer have to compete with imports from countries such as Turkey, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.

It quotes the owner of an ice-cream factory in Basra as saying:

“The coronavirus crisis has allowed us to prove ourselves on the Iraqi market.”

More here.

(Source: AFP)

By John Lee.

Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT) has reported that its strategy to promote Aqaba as a gateway to Iraq and the wider Levant has delivered “a sharp increase in containers to Iraq (up 367% compared to previous year), and thus contributed to the positive results recorded for the past few months“.

The Founder and CEO of the Jordan-based Nile International Freight Services, Nasri Aqrabawi, said:

“We have found in ACT a true business partner which has supported us to develop the most efficient supply chain into Iraq.”

(Source: ACT)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil has invited bids fto build the Iraq-Jordan oil pipeline.

The first phase will be built on the Iraqi side, stretching 700 km from Rumaila to Haditha. This will have a capacity of 2.25 million barrels per day (bpd). This will be built on an engineering, procurement, construction and financing (EPCF) contract model.

The second phase, on the Jordanian side, will run 900 km from Haditha to the port of Aqaba. This section will be built on a Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) model.

Bids will be accepted from qualified companies up to the end of May, with a decision to be made by the end of 2020.

(Source: Ministry of Oil)

Iraq Football Association has proposed Jordan to host its 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asia Cup qualifiers, after FIFA requested an alternative venue because of ongoing protests, officials said Wednesday.

Iraq had been due to play the two games in Basra — against Iran on November 14 and Bahrain on November 19— but the southern port city has been caught up in the anti-government demonstrations that have swept Baghdad and the south.

“Jordan was chosen to host the matches against Bahrain and Iran,” Abdelkhaleq Masud, the head of Iraq’s football federation, told AFP on Wednesday.

The proposal must now be approved by FIFA.

Earlier, the Iraqi federation’s deputy head said FIFA had requested it move the games outside the country.

“FIFA informed us late Tuesday night that we must choose a new place, an alternative outside Iraq, for the scheduled match with Iran by Wednesday,” Ali Jabbar told AFP.

A statement from FIFA said it had assessed “the current security situation in Iraq” and informed the local federation that upcoming matches “must be played on neutral ground.”

“The Iraqi Football Association has been requested to nominate a neutral venue for the said matches, which is subject to confirmation by FIFA and the AFC,” it said.

Iraq tops its group for Asia Cup qualification with seven points, leading Bahrain on goal difference, while Iran holds third spot with six points.

Hong Kong and Cambodia each have one point.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

From The Economist.

Did American road-building in Iraq lead to more violence?

Drivers called it the “highway through hell”. Attacks on the road linking Baghdad to Amman occurred so often in 2014 that truckers were paid three times the normal rate to haul goods along the artery. Gangs and militias were a constant threat.

The jihadists of Islamic State set up roadblocks, charged drivers a tax of around $300 and even handed out receipts. The road, officially called Highway 10, was recently secured by the Iraqi army. But those who drive on it still face the threat of extortion or attack.

America spent loads improving Highway 10 after 2003, the year it toppled Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s former dictator. Over the next decade, as the war in Iraq dragged on, America spent nearly $12bn on infrastructure in the country.

President George Bush touted the improved roads, hoping they would boost the local economy and lead to a reduction in violence. But a working paper presented at this year’s meeting of the European Economics Association suggests that the effort may have had the opposite effect.

Read the full article here (subscription needed).

Iraq has signed a landmark deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for a power line to import 500 megawatts of electricity by 2020, local reports said on Sunday.

According to the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, the 300-kilometre line will run from Kuwait to Iraq’s southern port of Faw and be financed by the GCC.

Electricity Minister Lo’ai [Luay] Al-Khatteeb (pictured) signed the agreement with the head of the GCC Interconnection Authority, Ahmad Ibrahim, on the sidelines of an energy conference held in Baghdad.

This is the first deal of its kind with the GCC,” explained Al-Khatteeb. Iraq is also in separate talks with neighbours Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey to import electricity.

This first step will pave the way to discuss further and higher capacity projects,” the minister added, “not only to supply Baghdad and northern Iraq but also as a pathway to other countries.

(Source: Middle East Monitor)

Iraq has signed a landmark deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for a power line to import 500 megawatts of electricity by 2020, local reports said on Sunday.

According to the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, the 300-kilometre line will run from Kuwait to Iraq’s southern port of Faw and be financed by the GCC.

Electricity Minister Lo’ai [Luay] Al-Khatteeb (pictured) signed the agreement with the head of the GCC Interconnection Authority, Ahmad Ibrahim, on the sidelines of an energy conference held in Baghdad.

This is the first deal of its kind with the GCC,” explained Al-Khatteeb. Iraq is also in separate talks with neighbours Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey to import electricity.

This first step will pave the way to discuss further and higher capacity projects,” the minister added, “not only to supply Baghdad and northern Iraq but also as a pathway to other countries.

(Source: Middle East Monitor)

By John Lee.

The first shipment of Iraqi crude oil to Jordan under a new deal agreed in Februay has been sent on Sunday.

According to a statement from the Jordanian Minstry Of Energy And Mineral Resources, the first trucks left from Baiji station in Kirkuk on Sunday, and are expected to reach the oil refinery in the city of Zarqa on Tuesday.

Jordanian Energy Minister Hala Zawati said more than 200 tankers from Jordan and Iraq will take part in the transport, in an agreement with the transport firm Nael Thiabat and Company.

(Source: Jordanian Minstry Of Energy And Mineral Resources)

By John Lee.

Fifty-one Jordanian companies are expected to take part in the Baghdad International Fair in November.

According to the Jordan Times, the Jordan Chamber of Industry (JCI) is aiming to build on the agreements signed between Jordan and Iraq, especially those signed during Prime Minister Omar Razzaz’ recent visit to Baghdad.

It adds that Jordan’s exports to the Iraqi market increased by 3.74 per cent during the first two months of this year.

(Source: Jordan Times)