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Saudi Arabia, Iran vie for economic influence in Iraq

Saudi Arabia is seeking to enter the Iraqi market aggressively, along with a political presence, and increase the competition with its opponent Iran in the Iraqi arena.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud welcomes Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 21, 2017. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC122DCA3BC0

Reza Tajrishi, president of the House of Industry, Mine and Trade of Iranian Youth in Iran, conceded April 17 that his country is losing its appeal in Iraq’s markets to Saudi Arabia. Tajrishi’s declarations reflect a bitter competition between Iran and Saudi Arabia to take over the Iraqi market, a major consumer of foreign exports in light of an absent local industry sector.

Tajrishi placed the blame on Iraq, saying, “The government of Iraq bars many Iranian companies from operating, while the doors are wide open for the Saudis — thanks to reduced customs fees on Saudi goods per an understanding between the two sides.”

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