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Jordanian trucks expected to make direct trips into Iraq next week

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Feb 15,2018 - Last updated at Feb 15,2018

AMMAN — The ministries of transport and industry on Tuesday agreed to start arrangements for the entry of Jordanian commercial trucks to Iraq, preparing the ground for the implementation of the relevant decision taken for that purpose.

The decision came during a joint meeting with representatives of the Amman Chamber of Industry (ACI) and Amman Chamber of Commerce and the Truck Owners Association, held in the presence of Transport Ministry Secretary General Anmar Khasawneh and director of the Land Transport Regulatory Commission Salah Lozi.

Iraqi media reports on Thursday indicated that a delegation from the Ministry of Transport would travel to Jordan next week to hold official meetings on the entry of commercial trucks to both countries through the Turaibil border crossing. 

Prime Minister Hani Mulki told lawmakers on Thursday that the process would be completed next week (see separate story). 

In addition, the reports noted that the delegation would discuss the establishment of facilities for the transport between Baghdad and Amman, as well as for the customs and visa procedures. 

"This strategic decision will reflect positively on our exports without a doubt," Jordanian Exports Association President Omar Abu Wishah said.

He told The Jordan Times that “Iraq has always been a very important market for Jordan and we are happy to bring it back”.

“It is not only about being able to export to Iraq again, but taking part in the rebuilding of the country,” Abu Wishah pointed out, noting that “Iraq will be demanding plenty of materials during this process, and we hope they would rely on Jordan to provide them with their needs”. 

In addition, the official noted the “several benefits” that the truck sector will secure from the new arrangements, stressing the new employment opportunities that will be generated by the increase in exports. 

For his part, ACI Chairman Ziad Homsi said that “Jordan’s exporting capacity will improve only if the trucks can go straight to Baghdad,” noting that “this would stop the trucks from going back to back from the loading dock at Turaibil border crossing to Baghdad”.

“This way, we would be able to cut the costs of paying two trucks instead of one,” Homsi continued, adding that “taking the system of trucks’ back to back out of the picture will prevent the damage of goods”.

The official highlighted that Iraq used to be one of Jordan’s main export destinations before the closure of the border, expressing hope to restore the export rates of a decade ago. 

“Guaranteeing the access of Jordanian trucks to Iraq was the first step to achieve that and we are optimistic, but there are still challenges to overcome,” Homsi added, pointing out that the ACI is “still waiting for Iraq to ratify the agreement to allow up to 500 items into their territory free of customs fees”.

 

Regarding this issue, Abu Wishah noted that Jordan and Iraq are bound by the Arab Mediterranean Free Trade Agreement, hoping for “this challenge to be solved either by adhering to this deal or through further bilateral relations”.

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