Cooperation between ITO and Baghdad Chamber of Commerce for Iraq’s $100 billion contracting projects

Istanbul Chamber of Commerce Chairman Avdagic said, “Approximately $100 billion worth of projects will be realized for the reconstruction of the country in Iraq. I believe that the Turkish contractor sector will take a significant share of these projects together with its Iraqi stakeholders.”

According to the statement made by ITO, “Cooperation Opportunities in the Construction Sector with Iraq Webinar” was held with the participation of ITO President Avdagic and Baghdad Chamber of Commerce President Firas Resul Cafer.

Speaking at the online event, Avdagic stated that the projects in Iraq’s ongoing 2018-2022 National Development Plan hold an important potential for Turkish companies providing contracting services.

“Our Turkish companies are ready to take part in these projects covering many sectors such as water supply and wastewater treatment plant, power plant, hospital, school and housing construction, highway, airway, bridge and port construction,” Avdagic said.

Underlining that Turkish companies can play an active role in the reconstruction of the country through partnerships with Iraqi companies, Avdagic made the following evaluations:

“Projects worth about $100 billion will be realized for the reconstruction of the country in Iraq. I believe that the Turkish contractor sector will get a significant share of these projects together with its Iraqi stakeholders. We know that Iraqi companies prefer to establish partnerships with Turkish companies that they trust and know the culture of doing business. Because Turkish companies saw Iraq as their country and continued to work there instead of returning during the epidemic period. This cannot be explained simply by making ‘money’. This is a reflection of the strong sense of brotherhood and friendship.”

“Opening the Ovakoy Border Gate is of strategic importance”

Reminding that Turkey ranks third in Iraq’s imports with an 18.1% share after the United Arab Emirates and China, Sekib Avdagic reported that last year bilateral trade volume increased by 35% compared to 2019, to $17.3 billion.

“This shows that the cooperation and convergence of traders of the two countries could not even stop the Covid-19 epidemic. However, our goal is that the trade volume between the two countries will surpass $20 billion in the short term.” Avdagic said.

Noting that it would be very useful to allow transit passages between the two countries and to open new customs gates in order to accelerate trade, Avdagic made the following statements:

“Currently, trading through a single border gate prevents the trade volume from reaching the desired level. Therefore, the opening of the Ovakoy Border Gate is of strategic importance. The import bans on some products imported by Iraq from Turkey and increasing customs duties are another important problem. We can cooperate in the production of these and similar products in Iraq, which Iraq needs and Turkey is strong in production. “

Stating that there are 1,482 companies with 100% Iraqi capital registered to ITO, Avdagic informed that Iraqis, who have a significant share in the Turkish real estate sector, purchased 6,674 houses in 2020 and 1,461 houses in the first quarter of this year.

“Let us be the pioneer as two chambers for real collaborations to arise”

Baghdad Chamber of Commerce Chairman Firas Resul Cafer stated that they are always working to advance the relations between Iraq and Turkey and said, “Let us be the pioneer as two chambers for serious and real cooperation with our Turkish brothers and sisters to arise. In this way, we can achieve real and sustainable gains as two countries.”

Noting that they wish Iraqi business people to benefit from their knowledge in Istanbul, Cafer said, “A few years ago, we were talking about the lack of security. Now, thankfully, we can say that stability has come due to the strong steps of our government. Here, we want Turkish companies to come first, come to Iraq before anyone else and take part in investments.”

Stating that Iraq has very fertile lands, Firas Resul Cafer invited entrepreneurs who want to invest in the agriculture and livestock sector to their countries.

Source: AA / Translated by Irem Yildiz

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