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Truckers optimistic as Iraqi officials ease border crossing regulations

By Renad Aljadid - Nov 21,2018 - Last updated at Nov 21,2018

AMMAN — Jordan’s transportation, trucking and trade sectors are expected to receive a boost after the Iraqi authorities eased the entry regulations for Jordanian trucks through the Karama/Turaibil border crossing, stakeholders said on Tuesday.

Iraqi authorities on Sunday announced the cancellation of a condition that required the gathering of at least 200 trucks at the border in order to allow their entry into Iraq. The new regulations allow any number of trucks to cross into Iraq with the possibility of admitting several groups of trucks within the same day.

The scrapped condition was made for security purposes, according to stakeholders. However, Yanal Barmawi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supply, said it was difficult to have 200 trucks gathered at the border on the same day, and it caused some delays for traders and occasional losses.

“This step will hopefully boost the imports and exports between Jordan and Iraq and be beneficial for both countries’ economies,” Barmawi told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

The Jordanian Truck Owners Association also welcomed the announcement, while voicing hope to take part in Iraq’s reconstruction.

“Around 700 Jordanian trucks used to enter Iraq on a daily basis prior to the closure of the border in 2014 because of Daesh,” the association’s president, Mohammad Dawood, told The Jordan Times, noting that the number of trucks crossing into the neighbouring country today averages 150 per day.

“Despite the resumption of exports, there are still around 5,000 trucks that are not operating” Dawood added, calling on the government to offer more support for the sector by cancelling the sales tax on trucks’ maintenance and spare parts. 

He also recommended that the fees on goods at the Iraqi borders be unified to be equal to the fees paid at other neighbouring countries’ borders.

Barmawi said that meetings will be held between the Jordanian and Iraqi sides to discuss the exemption of customs fees on Jordanian exports in accordance with the free trade agreement.

Meanwhile, Iraqi truck drivers on social media expressed optimism that the Iraqi trucks are also be allowed to enter Jordan soon.

Barmawi noted that the two sides are currently working to complete the necessary arrangements to facilitate the entry of trucks from both countries, adding that they have set a timeframe to establish an industrial zone between Jordan and Iraq.

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