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ACC president stresses importance of Jordan-Iraq economic partnership

AMMAN — Jordan and Iraq should build a complementary economic unit to start a phase of commercial and investment partnership, President of the Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC) Khalil Hajj-Tawfiq said on Thursday.

During a meeting held between members of the boards of directors of the ACC and the Iraqi Business Council (IBC) in Amman, Hajj-Tawfiq said that the commercial and service sectors are keen to open joint channels of communication with Iraq’s private sector, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

He also expressed aspirations to start “a new chapter of economic relations” between the countries to realise joint interests, expressing hope that the progress of Jordanian-Iraqi economic relations will further advance and apply on the ground to increase trade exchange and establish joint investments.

The ACC president asserted that the commercial and service sectors seek to open channels of communication with various Iraqi private sector institutions, stating that the IBC is a key partner for the ACC, noting the chamber's readiness to follow up on issues of interest to Iraqi investors with the relevant government departments.

Hajj-Tawfiq noted that the Jordanian private sector seeks to make 2023 a year of Jordanian-Iraqi economic cooperation, especially in light of the Kingdom’s implementation of many economic reforms, mainly the Economic Modernisation Vision and the endorsement of the Investment Environment Law.

For his part, IBC President Majed Saidi stressed having a "great and historic" opportunity to expand Jordanian-Iraqi economic relations.

He also noted that Iraq will soon launch a reconstruction process in light of a financial surplus of approximately $100 billion, in addition to preparing the general budget, worth some $140 billion to be endorsed soon.

He stressed that Iraq needs to carry out a significant amount of work in infrastructure, including constructing five million housing units and 10,000 schools, specifying that there are large investment facilities provided by Iraq to business owners and investors, representing a strong opportunity for the Jordanian private sector to open up to the Iraqi market.

The IBC president called on Jordanian companies to increase their exports to Iraq and take advantage of Iraq's large and open market, as well as create industrial partnerships beneficial to the two countries, and ensure sustainability of the flow of goods and supply chains.

He pointed out that there is an opportunity for Jordanian banks to expand their presence in the Iraqi market and take advantage of their banking expertise.

On the sidelines of the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed to boost partnership and enhance cooperation between the two sides economically, in general, and in commercial institutions and services, in particular.

The commercial exchange volume between Jordan and Iraq in the first 11 months of 2022 increased to some JD707 million, compared with JD415 million for the same period in 2021.

The number of Iraqi businesspeople registered with the ACC amounts to 1,490 in various commercial and service sub-sectors, with JD134 million in registered capital.