by JORDAN TIMES
AMMAN — Iraq has concluded all technical procedures to grant passage for Jordanian commodities through Iraq en route to Turkey and European countries, according to officials taking part in a meeting of the joint Jordanian-Iraqi Committee on Transport and Trade.
During its meeting that was held earlier last week, the committee said a decision to allow Jordanian transit trucks to pass through Iraq will be issued soon, Ministry of Transport Secretary General Laith Dababneh told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, on Saturday.
The issue of granting visas to Jordanian truckers passing through Iraq was also discussed at the meeting, Dababneh said, adding that Jordan will request Iraq’s embassy in Amman to cooperate with the Jordan Truck Owners Association to resolve this matter, Petra reported.
At the meeting, chaired by Dababneh and the Iraqi transport undersecretary, Benkin Rikani, it was also agreed that a technical committee will examine the establishment of a joint free zone at the borders between both countries.
Syria has been the preferred transit route for Jordanian trucks carrying goods to Turkey and Europe. An average of 35 to 40 transit trucks cross to the Syrian border to Turkey, of which one-third are Jordanian, transport officials have previously told The Jordan Times.
But as a result of the ongoing turmoil in Syria, the Kingdom asked Iraqi authorities in December last year to allow Jordanian trucks carrying goods to Turkey and Europe to travel through Iraq as an alternative transit path for Syria.
Dababneh told Petra that the joint committee discussed the question of fees imposed on commodities exported to Iraq, including the 5 per cent ”Iraq reconstruction” tax Baghdad levies on commodities entering the country.
This tax will be cancelled under the Customs Tariffs Law, which will go into effect at the beginning of June after it was suspended since it was passed by the Iraqi parliament in December 2010 .
Dababneh said he also urged the Iraqi side to re-accredit Aqaba Port as a conduit of Iraq’s imports to handle all shipments bound for the eastern neighbour, including government imports, noting that the Iraqi side promised to look into this issue.
Formed in 2010, the joint Jordanian-Iraqi committee convenes every six months to address emerging and outstanding transport issues and to facilitate the flow of goods between the two countries.