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Iran, Iraq to ink several MoUs to increase trade ties

Baghdad, Iran is expected to sign several Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with Iraq on rail projects, easier visa processes as well as medical cooperation as the two neighbouring countries eye 20-billion-dollar annual trade volume.

These MoUs will be about establishing railway between the border cities of Khorramshahr and Basra, building and developing joint industrial parks, travel visas, customs issues and health and medical cooperation,' said Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi during a commemoration ceremony for the slain Iraqi shia cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim in Baghdad on Saturday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to visit Iraq on Monday. He is the first president of a foreign country that will officially visit Iraq at the request of Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi since the new government's formation.

The Iranian border city of Khorramshahr lies some 40 kilometers away from the Iraqi Basra. The Iranian and Iraqi officials are eager to connect their countries through railway in a bid to boost export and import.

Tehran and Baghdad are seeking to raise their annual trade volume to up to 20 billion dollars in the next few years. Iranian current exports to Iraq stand at 13 billion dollars, more than seven billion of which are non-oil exports.

Iraq is also among the first top destination for export of Iranian goods. The Iranian envoy to Iraq noted that his country is planning to organize more than 40 Iranian goods trade fairs in Iraq up to March 2020.

Their bilateral trade has been seeing a $2.5 billion annual increase with oil and gas exports making the most part of it, according to Masjedi.

He also added that a draft document of easing visa issuance for traders and businessmen and women from both countries is ready.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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