AMMAN, Jordanian exporters and traders said they hoped that Baghdad would soon reopen the border crossing of Treibil for the free entry of Jordanian goods into Iraq, the Kingdom's neighbour and key trading partner.

Hani Al-Mulki and his Iraqi counterpart Haidar Al Abadi agreed Monday in talks in the Iraqi capital to reopen the land route to facilitate the crossing of Jordanian merchandise, mainly farm produce, into Iraq and reduce transport and other costs on Jordanian exporters.

"Iraq is the breathing lung for the national economy and is considered the Kingdom's most important trading partner", said Jordan Chamber of Commerce President Nael Kabariti, expressing hope that the coming days will see the fruits of the Baghdad talks.

He said the discussions reflected a true will by both countries to address hurdles to increasing the trade volume, including the formation of a joint committee to look at the lists of Jordanian products that will be exempted from a 30 percent fee levied by Iraq and remove other customs barriers.

Kabariti also stressed the importance of an agreement reached at the talks to speed up the implementation of a dual gas and oil pipeline project linking the port of Basra in southern Iraq and the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba. He noted that the strategic venture would provide a gateway for Iraqi exports and also meet Jordan's oil needs.

The visit of the prime minister and his ministerial team to Iraq would lay the foundations for stronger economic ties and encourage the private sector to increase trade and launch joint investments, said President of the Jordan Exporters Association Omar Abu Weshah.

Weshah said Iraq is one of the most important markets for Jordanian exports, which had faced difficulties in the past four years due to the closure of the Treibil border crossing that forced traders to shift to high-cost alternative routes.

Source: Voice of America