Iran to Open Free-Trade Zone on Border with Iraq

AS23421412.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran plans to establish a free-trade zone on its border with Iraq, Baghdad’s Ambassador to Tehran Mohamed Meguid al-Sheikh said Wednesday.

Ambassador al-Sheikh told Iraqi newspaper al-Sabah that the move was aimed at facilitating the fast growing rate of trade between the two neighboring countries, expected to reach around 3 billion dollars by the end of 2008.

Trade between the two countries, which enjoy a 1,200-kilometre border, has boomed in recent years, growing from 1.5 billion dollars in 2006 to 2.2 billion dollars in 2007.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh left Baghdad Wednesday for Tehran at the head of a governmental delegation on a three-day visit, a spokesman for the deputy premier said.

“The Iraqi delegation, including ministers and government officials, will discuss a number of economic and trade agreements to boost cooperation between the two countries in different fields,” Taha al-Hashemi told the independent Voices of Iraq news agency.

During the several-day-long visit, the Iraqi deputy prime minister is due to discuss bilateral relations, an official source in Saleh’s office revealed on Monday.

“Saleh will take up with Iranian officials relations between the two countries’ governments as well as the recent political and economic developments,” the source, who did not want his name revealed, told VOI.

The Iraqi delegation is expected to discuss economic and trade agreements between the two sides and means to broaden vistas of cooperation in all important spheres, the source said.

Iran and Iraq signed the first memorandum of understanding between the two countries for cultural cooperation on July 30 this year.

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