Enhancing Pak-Iraq Trade Relations Through Strategic Port Collaborations

The recent discussions between Iraq’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Hamid Abbas Lafta, and the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) delegation, led by President Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, have highlighted a new chapter in Pak-Iraq bilateral relations. The focus of their talks was on utilizing the Gwadar and Basra seaports to boost trade ties significantly.


Ambassador Lafta emphasized the robust relationship between the two nations, which is poised to reach new heights through increased trade facilitated by these strategic ports. With Iraq’s strong economic footing, including an annual budget of $110 billion, and Pakistan’s diverse market, the potential for mutual growth is substantial. The ambassador noted that Pakistani manpower could greatly contribute to Iraq’s agriculture, medical, and petrochemical sectors, areas where Iraq is keen to expand cooperation.


Furthermore, the defense sector remains a cornerstone of Pak-Iraq relations, with Iraq recently acquiring a complete package of Super Mushshak aircraft from Pakistan, underscoring the deep military cooperation that complements their economic ties.


Despite the strong bilateral relationships, trade volumes between the two countries have been minimal, a point of concern that both sides are eager to address. Ambassador Lafta called upon the chambers of commerce in both countries to play a pivotal role in enhancing these economic interactions. He also extended an invitation to Pakistani businessmen to explore the investment opportunities Iraq offers, particularly highlighting the national action plan for investments unveiled by the Iraqi government.


On his part, President Bakhtawari expressed the necessity for direct connectivity between the two nations to tap into the vast potential for trade. He suggested that sectors such as tourism, particularly Pakistan’s northern areas, could attract Iraqi interest. To foster this, ICCI plans to participate in the upcoming Trade Exhibition in Najaf in June, aiming to showcase Pakistani products and services in the Iraqi market.


The discussions concluded with both parties reaffirming their commitment to bolstering trade and economic ties. The ICCI’s proactive stance and the open doors of the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan signal a promising future for collaboration, with high-level bilateral visits and ongoing dialogue expected to further cement this burgeoning partnership.

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