News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIraq-Iran trade and tourism increasing

Iraq-Iran trade and tourism increasing

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UPI: The U.S. Congressional Research Service said non-oil trade between Iraq and Iran reached about $2 billion in 2007. United Press International

BAGHDAD, March 7 (UPI) — The U.S. Congressional Research Service said non-oil trade between Iraq and Iran reached about $2 billion in 2007.

Though largely one way, Iraq and Iran engaged in trade relations involving a variety of products from construction material to produce, medicine and poultry, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said.

Barring fuel shipments from Iran, Iranian imports travel to markets in Iraqi convoys. Most Iraqi shoppers said they would rather get their goods from Iran than other Gulf nations, the RFE report said.

“The imported goods from Iran stand out because of their low prices and good quality, which is the reason for their popularity,” said one local merchant in al-Kut, located about 60 miles from the Iranian border.

But some Iraqi producers say the amount of arable land should be able to make the markets in Iraq self-sustaining.

“Is it reasonable for (Iraq), with its fertile lands, to import cucumbers and tomatoes from Iran and Turkey?” asked another merchant.

But both countries experienced a boom in travel as religious pilgrims take advantage of the new freedom of movement following the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003.

As many as 2,000 Iranian pilgrims travel to Shiite holy cities in Karbala, and many Iraqis travel to Iran for similar reasons.

“Tourism between Iraq and Iran has undergone major development since the fall of the (Saddam) regime,” said an owner of a tourist business in Iraq.

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