Troubled trade with Iraq. Iraq revokes bilateral trade agreement; exports to Iraq now require conformity certificate - Lebanon

Troubled trade with Iraq
Iraq revokes bilateral trade agreement; exports to Iraq now require conformity certificate
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The President of the Association of Industrialists in Lebanon (ALI), Neemat Frem, and the General Director of the Ministry of Economy and Trade, Fouad Fleifel, held talks on Thursday (September 29) over the barriers of export to Iraq.

Frem had earlier said, in a press statement, that Iraq recently “revoked a bilateral trade agreement pertaining to the conformity certificates between the two countries”.

The retraction of the agreement means that Iraq no longer recognizes Lebanon’s conformity certificates. “This has created trade barriers and hampered most of our exports to the country,” Frem said.

Iraq has recently imposed strict quality specifications on its imports. Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki said that the government’s decisions came because the local market was dumped with poor-quality imports.

The meeting, which was attended by an Iraqi diplomat, addressed issues related to technical specifications and laboratorial tests, as well as customs and shipment procedures. The meeting proposed several measures the two countries could take to facilitate bilateral trade. The suggestions included accelerating the procedures to acquire a conformity certificate for imports, and qualifying the laboratories for conducting accurate inspections.

The two sides voiced willingness to reactivate the 2002 Agreement on Technical Cooperation, in terms of the unity of specifications, standards, quality inspection, and providing conformity certificates.

According to figures released by the Customs Administration, the value of our exports to Iraq was $151 million up until August this year. Exports to Iraq in 2010 amounted to $267 million.
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Date Posted: Sep 30, 2011