Figures from Turkey’s ministry of trade and customs show that truck traffic between Turkey and Iraq fell from 685,000 in 2014 to 606,000 in 2015, with only 200,000 trucks from January to May this year, according to a report from Rudaw.
Trade fell from more than $12 billion in 2013 to $8.5 billion in last year, due to the conflict between the Turkish army and Kurdish guerrillas.
Turkey’s Southeast Union of Entrepreneurs (GUNSIAD) said trade through the main border crossing of Habur has halved over the past year.
According to Turkey-Iraq Association of Entrepreneurs, a number of other restricting laws have adversely affected trade, while new passport and custom laws have kept many people at home on both sides of the border.
Head of the association, Newaf Celik, told Rudaw:
“Currently you need to pay double customs to cross Kurdistan region to Iraq with a Turkish registered vehicle … You need to pay $1000 when you enter Kurdistan region and another $1000 if you continue south to the Iraqi areas. And there are visa restrictions for Iraqi drivers coming to Turkey which is no good for business.”
Turkey facilitated visa applications for Iraqi citizens in late 2009 but imposed severe restrictions last year to contain the wave of mass migration to Europe through its borders.
(Iraq-Turkey image via Shutterstock)