Officials aim to close the exchange gap

Iraq announces measures to facilitate forex access for select importers

BAGHDAD, November 22 — Iraq’s Council of Ministers announced a series of decisions on Tuesday aimed at facilitating access to a foreign financial transfers platform for importers of gold, automotives, mobile phones, and cigarettes.

The Cabinet said it aimed to make it easier for importers to access U.S. dollars at the official exchange rate, rather than from the informal, or black market.

A statement from Council of Ministers’ press office said:

In the realm of trade regulation and the importation of certain materials and goods, some traders are compelled to finance transactions from the informal foreign currency market. This often results in negative repercussions on the exchange rate. In response, the Cabinet has taken a range of decisions and measures with the objective of easing access for importers of goods such as gold, cars, mobile phones, and cigarettes to the services of the foreign banking external transfers platform. This aims to enable them to secure funding in foreign currency at the official exchange rate, eliminating the need to acquire foreign currency from the informal market.

This move is expected to have a positive impact on reducing the foreign currency exchange rate in the informal market. The decisions include reducing customs duties on containers, another reduction related to cigarette import duties, and the adoption of certificates of origin issued by Chambers of Commerce in exporting countries. The decisions also involve simplifying the procedures for importing gold through air channels, with 24-hour service availability.