Iraq, Saudi Arabia to step up border trade

Iraq, Saudi Arabia to step up border trade

Iraq and Saudi Arabia agreed a range of measures to step up the border trade exchanges, the Iraqi Ministry of Transport said in a statement on Wednesday.

President of Iraq's Border Port Commission Omar Al-Waeli and Governor of the Saudi Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority Suhail Bin Mohammad Abanmi co-chaired a senior-level meeting at the Saudi border crossing of Arar where they shared the desire facilitate the movement of goods.

Both sides approved a plan to leverage the e-commerce system to enhance the exchange of goods via Arar — the only outlet for individuals and goods between the two countries, and activate the transit services according to the statement.

In February of this year, Iraq had said that it is planning to open a new border crossing with Saudi Arabia through its Najaf province, hoping for greater cooperation, an increase in trade exchange and the facilitation of pilgrims' movement between the two countries.

The step is expected to add momentum to the growing economic ties between the two neighbors and contribute to the revitalization of cities and governorates located on the roads leading to the crossing.

The Iraqi state newspaper Al-Sabah then had quoted Najaf Gov. Luay Al-Yasiri as saying that since the beginning of December, local authorities have begun their work on the road linking the province with the Saudi border, with the aim of opening a new crossing that will contribute to reviving tourist and archaeological sites, increasing trade exchange and facilitating the movement of pilgrims between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

"We hope to transform the territory between Iraq and Saudi Arabia into a border crossing that includes areas for trade exchange, in a project that is similar to the Arar and Al-Jumaymah border crossings between the two countries," he added.

Last November, Saudi Arabia and Iraq reopened the Arar border crossing, after a closure of nearly 3 decades, and the flow of commercial trucks between the two countries began.

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