“Developing agricultural production in Iraq’s vast lands will make its products sweep the markets of the Gulf and other neighboring countries, which believe any development at this level as an economic threat to their exports,” Abbas said.
She added, “A group of businessmen and importers affiliated with certain parties would be affected should the importation stop, as they monopolize the market.”
In a press statement Aug. 19, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, the labor and social affairs minister, accused “regional and international traders and businessmen of seeking to monopolize the Iraqi market by hindering the purchase of national products.”
It appears that Arab countries are interested in exporting to Iraq. On Aug. 17, Syrian sources reported that Iraq’s share of Syrian exports is about 40%. Similarly, Iranian sources said Aug. 26 that Iraq would remain the largest market in the region for another 15 years for Iranian goods, mainly food products.
Moreover, Iraq is one of the largest importers of grains in the world, which constitutes the main ingredient in the Iraqi diet. Iraq imports more than 30 million tons of wheat and 1 million tons of rice.
Parliamentarian Shuruq al-Abayji, a member of the Agriculture, Water and Marshlands Committee, told Al-Monitor, “Regional countries are racing to establish border crossings with Iraq. The country’s poor agricultural production has made Iraq an open market for the products of neighboring countries, which came to the detriment of Iraqi farmers who are unable to compete with foreign goods.”