By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has reportedly banned the import of grapes into the Kurdistan Region.

Rudaw quotes Hussein Hama Karim, KRG’s Agriculture and Water Resources spokesperson, as saying:

“The ban is to protect our domestic product … We will continue our efforts to completely ban the illegal import of products into the Region … Our domestic products must sell in the markets.”

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

By Fehim Tastekin for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Turkish exporters are reeling from an unprecedented blow in trade with Iraq that has splashed cold water on Ankara’s hopes to launch a second border crossing with its southern neighbor and boost bilateral trade to $20 billion.

In a series of steps since May, touted as an effort to promote domestic production, the Iraqi government has restricted food imports from Turkey, including in major categories such as eggs and beverages.

Turkey’s business community suspects that there are political factors behind the move, including the role of non-market actors harming competition, pressure from companies linked to the ruling partners in Baghdad and the influence of Iran.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Baghdad has reportedly banned the import of table salt, noodles and pasta from Turkey.

This follows import bans on eggs and ice cream imposed earlier this year.

According to Daily Sabah, the ban will take effect after 60 days and will remain in force for a year.

(Source: Daily Sabah)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture has banned the import of oranges, due to “the abundance of local produce and support for our national economy“.

A “technical agent” at the ministry, Dr. Mahdi Mohammad al-Qaisi (pictured), confirmed that this is the first ban on the importation of oranges since 2003.

(Source: Ministry of Agriculture)

By John Lee.

In a bid to boost local tomato production,

The Iraqi government has banned the import of tomatoes from Turkey.

A statement from the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources said the tomato production of Najaf and Karbala is enough to supply all of domestic demand.

Rudaw reports that Iraq imported tomatoes valued at $98.5 million in 2014, $82.8 million in 2015 and $88 million in 2016.

(Sources: Rudaw, Armenpress)

(Photo: Muffet1)

By John Lee.

Iraq’s Ministry of Trade has banned the import of some food products and beverages from Jordon due to what it describes as “health and safety concerns.

Local media reports say the Ministry identified genetic modification and the excessive use of food additives as the reasons for the ban on some products.

The President of the Jordanian Foodstuff Traders Association, Khalil Haj Tawfiq, said he believes the ban is an attempt to tarnish Jordanian industries.

(Source: Jordan Times)

By John Lee.

Kurdistan24 reports that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Agriculture has decided to impose a tax on some products imported from other parts of Iraq.

KRG Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Abdulstar Majid, said that the his Department is aware that imposing a tax on goods within a country is unusual, but adde “we are 100 percent sure that the products massively imported from Iraq to the Kurdistan Region are not Iraqi products but are imported from Iran free of tax.

He added that the new tax will allow local products to compete in the local markets.

(Source: Kurdistan24)

By John Lee.

The secretary of Iran‘s Cement Industry Employers Association has said that Iraq has promised to remove its ban on the import of Iranian cement.

Fars news agency quotes Abdolreza Sheikhan as saying that following several meetings between Iranian and Iraqi officials, Baghdad promised to give priority to Iranian exports, once general ban on cement import is removed.

He said Iraq’s cement demand is currently met from domestic production.

Iran’s cement and clinker exports fell by 20 percent in the Iranian year ended March 20, and stood at 15 million tons.

Iraq had previously accounted for 60 percent of Iran’s cement exports.

Last year Baghdad increased tariffs on Iranian cement from $4 to $13.

Iran currently exports cement to some 24 countries including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Oman, India, and China.

Last year, Sheikhan warned that Iran is gradually losing its domestic and foreign cement markets.

“Cement supply and demand is not balanced in the market and this has created problems for producers,” he said.

(Source: Trend)

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.

The End of An Industrial Era: Cheap Imports Mean “Made In Iraq” Is Disappearing

Almost half of Basra’s smaller manufacturers have closed in the face of a market flooded with cheap imports. Yet due to the current financial crisis and sinking oil prices, they are more important than ever.

Today Basra woodworker, Haj Karim Nasser, is taking apart what remains in his workshop. He will sell everything that’s left. Nasser has made furniture here for around 25 years. The smell of wood dyes and wood shavings permeates the space.

But Nasser, who has had to close up and lay off 25 staff, has become just another of the latest victims of the open market policies pursued in Iraq since 2003. Nasser now will now work selling foreign exchange in one of Basra’s markets.

“We just couldn’t compete with the cheap, imported stuff,” Nasser told NIQASH. The cost of producing a bedroom suite in our workshop was around US$1,600 and we’d sell it for US$2,000. But you can get Malaysian-made suites here for about US$1,250. The quality is not comparable. But for many people here the cost was more important than the quality.”

In Basra, hundreds of similar business, small workshops and factories have had to close. According to Basra’s Union of Industrialists there used to be about 15,360 industrial operations in the province, in around 13 industrial areas, producing a wide variety of products.

Between now and 2003 around half of these have been forced to close thanks to a lack of government support, high taxes on raw materials and a market flooded with cheap competitors from outside Iraq, they say. A number of government-run factories in Basra which produced iron, steel, paper and fertilizer, were also shut down, which led smaller businesses who used to get their raw materials from these, to shut too.

By John Lee.

The Iraqi government has been undertaking “a series of policy twists to restrict the exports of poultry products from Turkey.

The chairman of the Turkish Poultry Promotion Group, Müjdat Sezer, part of the country’s Ministry of Economy, told GlobalMeatNews:

Iraq decided to stop all imports of full chickens from Turkey. We don’t know the reason yet, but we’re currently investigating the situation with the Iraqi ministry.

“It’s likely that Iraq is trying to preserve its domestic production of poultry. I think this problem will be solved, but it will take a little time.

“The Iraqi market is very changeable and doesn’t make long-term decisions in the usual way of most countries. I’m optimistic about the outcome.

Iraq repealed a recent major increase in import tariffs, from $35 to $295 per tonne, only to halt all full chicken imports from Turkey from 8th April, but continues to allow the import of chicken pieces.

UN data showed that last year Turkish producers exported around 227,000 tonnes of poultry to Iraq, generating around $443 million in receipts.

(Source: GlobalMeatNews)

(Poultry image via Shutterstock)