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Iraq, Jordan sign free trade agreement

January 29, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein in Baghdad, Iraq on 25 September 2018 [Haydar Karaalp/Anadolu Agency]

Jordan has reached a new agreement on free trade with Iraq, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Rajai Muasher, said yesterday.

Speaking during a joint press conference with Iraqi Finance Minister Fuad Hussein in Baghdad, Muasher added: “We signed and initiated a free trade agreement outlining recommendations for the mutual preservation of local-product competitiveness, to serve the economic interest of both countries.”

The Jordanian official gave no further details on the terms of the free trade agreement, but said the prime ministers of both countries will meet on 2 February to finalise deals in various fields.

Muasher explained that one of the sectors that should be finalised is the energy sector “such as the oil pipeline project between Iraq and Aqaba, and linking electricity between the two countries”.

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“The agreement to implement the Basra-Aqaba oil pipeline was also signed, and is currently under review by the Iraqi cabinet. We are optimistic that implementation will begin soon,” Muasher said.

In April 2013, Jordan and Iraq signed an agreement for the construction of a 1,700 kilometre oil pipeline project at a cost of $18 billion and a capacity of one million barrels per day.

The proposed pipeline runs from the southern Iraqi province of Basra to Aqaba in southern Jordan on the Red Sea.

The kingdom hopes the pipeline will help it meet its energy needs and to export the rest through the port of Aqaba.