Minister: Lebanon not Doing Enough to Sign FTA with Iraq
Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mahdi Saleh said Tuesday that Lebanon was not doing enough to move toward a free trade agreement with Iraq and increase its share of trade under the United Nations oil-for-food program, reported the Daily Star newspaper.
"Increasing trade with Lebanon depends on a number of decisions that should be taken by our Lebanese brothers," Saleh said during a tour of the Lebanese trade fair that opened in Baghdad on Monday.
"From our side, we don't have any problem inking a free trade agreement. When the Lebanese officials decide on a course of action, we will sign," the minister said.
Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia have signed free trade agreements with Iraq.
According to the paper, Lebanon’s Minister of State Beshara Merhej is negotiating such an agreement with Iraqi officials, although nothing has materialized so far.
Lebanese merchants and industrialists are at the trade fair with the hopes of making further inroads into the Iraqi market, which before the civil war bought up to 30 percent of Lebanese exports, said the paper.
"Lebanese trade deals with the Iraqi government have reached around $340 million over the past four years," said Saleh.
The minister, meanwhile, said Saturday that Iraq and Jordan will be signing a free trade agreement soon, but gave no further details – Albawaba.com
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