Turkey's Ambassador to Baghdad Fatih Yıldız on Tuesday paid a visit to Jamila market and the historical Shorja market in the bazaar quarter of the Iraqi capital and talked to egg wholesalers and merchants importing products from Turkey.
As of the beginning of this year, the Iraqi government gradually banned imports of certain products from regional countries, including Turkey. These included eggs, poultry meat, beverages, ice cream, table salt, noodle varieties and pasta.
Turkey's business community blamed the decision, touted by Baghdad as an effort to boost domestic production, on political factors. Turkish exporters noted that Iraq is currently not in a position to meet local demand for most of the aforementioned products and that it cannot develop enough production capacity to cover the gap in the short term.
Eggs have turned into a major crisis ever since the ban went into effect. Sector representatives previously told Daily Sabah that Turkey exports 30% of its annual production, adding that over 70% of these exports went to Iraq.
Exports to Iraq amounted to nearly $306.45 million in 2018, according to Turkish Egg Producers Association (YUM-BİR) data, or 71% of Turkey's total egg exports.
The ban is said to have surprised both Turkish exporters and Iraqi people, as Iraqi citizens face hikes on one of their sine qua non staple food products, while Turkish egg exporters have to deal with the unwarranted situation of having doors to their largest market closed. Turkey's ambassador to Baghdad met with egg wholesalers and poultry meat importers in the Jamila market and to determine the repercussions in the market of the import ban imposed by the Iraqi government on eggs, poultry meat and fish.
Traders the ambassador met said the Baghdad administration's ban on imports led to a rapid increase in the price of eggs, adding that domestic production is can't meet market demand; thus, imported eggs continue to illegally enter the country via the Iranian border.
Iraqi traders noted that imports should be allowed again, albeit in part.
On the other hand, the meat importers Yıldız met said domestic production could meet only a small portion of Iraq's needs.
The ambassador also toured the historic Shorja market in Baghdad and listened to the problems of traders importing various products from Turkey.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) after the talks, Yıldız said: "We have toured the Jamila region and the Shorja market and listened to the problems and demands of importers directly. We strove to closely understand how trade with Turkey runs for traders."
Yıldız announced that they would convey the impact of the ban imposed on eggs and poultry meat on Turkish producers and Iraqi importers and consumers to Iraqi authorities, emphasizing: "We will try to reach a common solution for the benefit of both countries."
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