Iran eyes cutting Syria trade route short through Iraq

Iranian exports to Syria are carried out either through Turkey or via Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf which incur high costs to businessmen and delay their arrivals on time for the Syrian consumer.

15 January 2019
ID : 1769
Share
Share with
Google Plus
Link
Iranian exports to Syria are carried out either through Turkey or via Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf which incur high costs to businessmen and delay their arrivals on time for the Syrian consumer.

A view of the main market in the Syrian capital Damascus (Photo: Xinhua)

Iran says it’s taking steps to cut the long sea routes to Syria and start transiting its commodities to the Arab country through Iraq.

“We are keen on opening Iranian goods transit to Syria through Iraq,” said Keyvan Kashefi, head of the Joint Economic Committee between Iran and Syria at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA).

“The initial groundwork has been done,” Kashefi told Iran Chamber Newsroom, referring to Iranian and Iraqi efforts to clear the main transit route from pockets of ISIS terrorists that are still actively in war with Iraqi forces.

Kashefi has recently held talks with Syrian private sector authorities to pave the way for more Iranian investment in the country that is looking to rebuild itself after nearly winning eight years of a deadly devastating war.

The head of the Joint Iran Syrian economic committee stressed that he hopes the three countries can create “joint ventures” to push forward their trilateral trade.

Earlier, Hassan Danaifar, secretary of the committee to develop Iran’s economic relations with Iraq and Syria put the bilateral trade volume between Tehran and Baghdad at 11 billion dollars annually.

As Tehran is seeking to expand its commercial ties with post-war Syria, transit and banking channels are the main bottlenecks of a thriving trade relationship. Currently, Iran exports to Syria via road through Turkey or via sea through the the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf, according to Kashefi. 

Both Iran and Syria are under sanctions and can’t use established financial mechanisms to realise their transactions. Tehran has a solution, however. “During our recent visit, we saw into how to use sarafis," added the Iranian businessman referring to exchange shops that can handle small-scale monetary transactions to keep the money flowing between the two countries businessmen.

Earlier, Syrian Economy and Foreign Trade Minister, Mohammad Samer al-Khahli, confirmed during his recent visit to Iran, there are many problems in this area. “Please understand,” he urged the Iranian businessmen who complained about not receiving their export money. “Syria has been put under sanctions after the war broke out.” However, he emphasised steps have been taken to find a solution. He didn’t give more details, though.

Watch video: Post-war Syria opens doors to Iranian firms

Syria’s reconstruction market is estimated to be worth some 400 billion dollars, according to the Syrian minister, providing a golden opportunity for Iranian private firms to enter with full force to win big contracts.

Syria is a fertile ground for top Iranian companies who eye expansion to regional countries because the US has said it will not help Damascus in reconstruction until “Iran is out”, according to Brian Hook, a special US State Department representative for Iran.

Comment
Reply to :
= 5-4
Related