Trade between Iraq and Jordan has dropped drastically over the past few years. However, the liberation of lands from ISIS in Iraq is now opening up the space for stronger economic relations.
After years of standstill, transportation cars have finally been seen crossing the Iraqi-Jordanian border once again.
Following weeks of meetings between high-level officials in Baghdad and Amman, the Iraqi and Jordanian Prime Ministers agreed on major agreements to boost economic relations between the two countries. After several political and economic disputes between the two countries, trade came to a halt resulting in over $7 billion in losses for Jordan. However, with the new government led by Adil Abd al-Mahdi more willing to work with its neighbours, Jordan became one of the first countries to signal its willingness to work once again with Baghdad.
“The opening of the border will break the isolation that existed,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi. “Iraq and Jordan are the lungs of each other and as one breathes, the other will.”
Ministers of both countries have agreed on finding solutions for many problems, especially the accumulated debt that has remained between the two countries due to the old regime’s actions.
“Together, we have proven that the hard way is not impossible if there is will, and there was,” said Jordanian Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz.
As part of the agreements, a joint industrial zone is to be set between the two countries with Jordanian goods being exempt from customs fees and Iraqi goods exempted 75% through the Aqaba port.
The most substantial agreement that developed from these talks is the selling of 10,000 barrels of Kirkuk’s oil per day until the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline is completed in the coming years. Once completed, the 1,700 km pipelines will be able to transport 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil to Jordan per day.
Since the rise of Abd al-Mahdi to the premiership, the country has attempted to rebuild its regional relationships, primarily through trade and security agreements. Abd al-Mahdi’s focus on boosting economic relations stems from his career and education background as an economist.
While a bit sceptical of Abd al-Mahdi’s policies within his first 100 days, Iraqis continue to hope that the government will genuinely improve the situation of the country after the four-year war of attrition with ISIS.