Two chambers in the Kurdistan Region have signed protocols with Iranian traders that would have them establish offices in their respective countries and see trade exchange of up to $200 million.
Head of Kurdistan's Union of Importers and Exporters, Mustafa Sheikh Abdulrahman, told Rudaw that a protocol signed between the Union and the Chamber of the Iranian Cooperatives stipulates that the Kurdish side will open an office in Tehran, and the Iranians open theirs in Erbil.
Abdulrahman also said that a second protocol between Erbil Chamber of Commerce and their counterpart in the Iranian province of Hamadan would facilitate further trade between the two cities.
This comes as the Chamber of Cooperatives in Hamadan announced earlier this month that they had signed an agreement with the Kurdish authorities to export 56 goods and food items to the Kurdistan Region worth $56 million in 2017-2018, up from $38 the previous year. It said that the agreement allows Hamadan to increase the export up to $200 million.
Hamadan is located 500 km southeast of Erbil. Iran is Kurdistan Region’s second largest trade partner after Turkey, conducting $8billion of trade in 2014.
Tehran has expressed opposition to Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum of September 25, with the country’s national security advisor telling a visiting Kurdish delegation to Tehran that they should not expect “good things” coming out of Iran as a response.
Mustafa said that he received reassurance from Iran’s head of the Cooperatives, Bahman Abdollahi with whom they signed the first protocol, that not only borders will not be closed, but that they have plans to increase trade activity in between them.
“[He] said the Iranian borders will not face problems with regard to the Kurdistan Region, and that they encourage the owners of the companies to further export their food products to the Kurdistan Region,” Mustafa said.