Iraq Ports See Influx of ‘Mediocre Products’

By Omar al-Shaher for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq has continued to implement strict inspection measures on imported goods through its maritime ports in the southern city of Basra, after having been accused of turning into “a warehouse for mediocre products.”

Rafed Mahmoud, chairman of al-Nasseem Co. for Foods LLC, which is headquartered in Baghdad, said that the Iraqi Ministry of Planning has resumed, since the beginning of April, the implementation of strict inspection measures on goods supplied to Iraq through Basra’s ports.

“These measures have obstructed the entry of around 50% of goods that used to be supplied to Iraq under normal conditions in the past,” he added.

Companies specializing in the import-export sector objected to the standardization measures that resulted in commercial shipments piling up on border outlets. On the other hand, 20 Iraqi commercial and naval companies filed complaints in this regard, demanding that the Iraqi government reconsider these measures.

Traders and suppliers said that dozens of trade shipments have been held up at the ports of Khor al-Zubair, Umm Qasr and Abu Flous in Basra city, due to standardization and quality control measures. As a result of the delay, the goods got damaged or [the companies] incurred financial losses. The traders and suppliers asserted that they have stopped their trade activities until the government responds to their demands.

Suppliers noted that the new standardization measures have been limited to the maritime supply outlets. However, it is expected that the land outlets will also be subject to these measures as of next month.

The Iraqi Ministry of Planning inaugurated last month a laboratory for standardization and quality control in Basra province.

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