Iraq has substantially curtailed imports from Iran, according to an economic daily published in Tehran.
The report says part of the restriction on Iranian imports stem from general bans on a range of products, while part of it is due to targeted bans on Iranian imports.
The report did not specify what kind of products Iraq has banned, but previously Baghdad had stopped Iranian cement imports. Difficulty in payment system caused by U.S. sanctions could be a major reason for the reduction.
Latest statistics from Iran’s customs show that non-oil exports to Iraq during March 21-April 20 period was $389 million, while in the previous 30-day period the value of Iranian exports to Iraq stood at $722 million.
In the previous Iranian year (March 21, 2018-March 20, 2019), Iran exported close to $9 billion of products to Iraq, which was 37 percent higher than in the previous year.
Iraq is the second largest market for Iranian exports, with China occupying the top spot. Almost one quarter of Iran’s exports go to Iraq.
Before the withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran and Iraq had targeted to have $20 billion annual trade.
Iranian officials have been raising the prospects of more trade with Iraq in recent months, to counter the impact of U.S. sanctions on their economy.
Apart from non-oil, natural and manufactured products, Iran sells electricity and natural gas to Iraq. During the last Iranian fiscal year that trade reached $3 billion.