Yahya Ale Eshaq, head of the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, told the newspaper:
“Iraq needs everything, which makes it the best market for Iranian-made goods …
“We can work with European partners who are not familiar with the Iraqi market and are worried about security there. They can rely on us because thanks to our historical and cultural commonalities we can operate in Iraq better.”
Businesspeople in Tehran argue that Iran is no longer just a market of its 78 million-strong population; it should be seen as a market of more than 300 million people thanks to its location, allowing access to Arab states, central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Of Iran’s $42.4 billion of non-oil exports during the last Iranian year (which ended on March 19), $6.2 billion went to Iraq and about $4.9 billion worth of non-oil goods were re-exported through the UAE.
Masoud Daneshmand, chairman of a department of the Iran Chamber of Commerce which deals with UAE trade, says Iran is disappointed that Emirati companies have not lined up like Europeans and Asians to explore Iran’s untapped market. “Why do Emirati real estate companies like Damac Properties not think of Iran’s market when … Iran needs 5m houses?” he says.
One market that Iran is hoping to benefit from in the future is Syria, where Tehran is betting that its investment in the regime will pay off. When the Syrian war ends, Syria — like Iraq — is going to be a vast market. The country will have to be reconstructed from scratch. No one, however, is predicting that the war is about to end.
(Source: Financial Times)