Industry in Iraq….!

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In the past, Iraq was the cradle of the various civilizations that arose on its land the land of the great majority,
The land that contained between its sides agricultural plains with fertile soil, two rivers flowing from north to south,
Large animal wealth and other factors that made this part of the land the focus of attention for human migrations in the past,
And factors that helped The birth of those civilizations,
But !! In this study, we are not going to write a history lesson, as this matter and because of the many talk about it and its repetition has become,
As it is said, a “Cracked Record” that no longer brings benefit to the simple Iraqi citizen who has suffered and is still suffering from the lack of the most basic necessities of a decent life,
And as previously discussed in the center,
We are in the process of drawing attention to the path that the country is being led to over the past four decades, which has accelerated frighteningly over the past decade and a half.
History of industry in Iraq:
The history of industry in Iraq goes back to very old periods,
According to historians, for example the “Baghdad Battery”,
In which historians disagreed, some of them said that it was made in (250 BC) during the period of “Parathia” rule.
Some of them said that it was made during the Sasanian era in a short period after the birth of Christ.
Yes, industry and production in Iraq were advanced by ancient history,
So the matter is not limited to a specific government or a specific period of time or specific persons.
Life evolved and years passed, and Iraq – like the rest of the countries in the region – went through stages of conflict and change in the dominant countries,
And revolutions in ancient and modern history until we reached the independence of the country and the establishment of the modern Iraqi state,
Then the discovery of oil and the control of Western companies that discovered it over the quantities of production and then to the years 1972-1975,
As in that year the Iraqi state completed the process of nationalizing oil and completely expelling foreign companies,
Then, specifically, in 1977, oil exports in Iraq rose to constitute 98 percent of total exports,
Which required the government at that time to pay attention to this imbalance and to plan to develop other industrial and agricultural sectors
In order to bridge the imbalance and the gap in order to obtain a balanced and sober economic structure.
Of course, oil revenues mainly and fundamentally helped in this process, as revenues increased from 55 million dollars in 1970 to 24 and a half billion in 1980,
Then the Iran-Iraq war broke out, leaving behind economic repercussions not simple, followed by the Gulf War, which was the last straw. And what happened
After that until we reached the year 2003 and the regime in Iraq changed and its features and orientations changed.
We return here to the main focus of our topic, which is industry, which in Iraq is divided into types:

1- Extractive industries:
What is meant here is the industries that depend on the extraction of petroleum and natural gas
In addition to minerals such as sulfur, phosphates, and others.

2- Transformational industries which are divided into:
Food: including the dairy industry; Where there is a factory for the production of various types
Of dairy products and their derivatives in the Abu Ghraib area on the western side of Baghdad,
As well as other factories in several areas such as Nineveh, and a factory in Basra, Al Jazeera and Babylon,
Of course these factories do not cover the citizens’ needs completely, and the coverage percentage does not
Exceed 10% From the need of the country.
Also among the food industries is the manufacture of edible oils; The State Company for Oil Industries carries out
This industry, and it has 4 factories, three of which are in Baghdad and one in Al-Amara region As these factories
Produce edible oils of various kinds, which are made from sunflower seeds, but the level of production in them is low
And weak compared to the oils imported from Turkey and Iran.
3- Leather and textile industries, and among these industries we mention: the cotton and spinning industry,
Woolen fabric, silk weaving, leather, carpets, rugs, ready-to-wear and others.
4- Building materials industries:
Including the cement industry, which is the strongest and oldest industries in Iraq, which began in the early fifties,
And there are many cement factories that spread in Anbar, Nineveh and Sulaymaniyah, Karbala, Muthanna and Basra,
As well as the manufacture of bricks and other building materials .
5- Chemical industries:
Including petrochemicals; Such as the liquefied gas industry and the refining industry, as well as the chemical fertilizer industry,
Which is of medium importance, and has not been raised and developed as required, as there are only two plants in Iraq for these industries.
Perhaps the most important reasons that have led to the significant deterioration of industry in the country since 2003 and until this moment
Are the unjust laws that were taken, including the decision issued by the American Governor Paul Bremer in 2003 to reduce customs duties on
Imported goods to only 5 percent, which contributed By striking the nerve of the industry and its deterioration,
It is no secret to the reader that the political parties in power now all have interfaces that work with trade and
Import and therefore their interest requires that this sector not recover at the present time, and although Iraq in 2010
Enacted laws on customs tariffs, consumer protection and competitiveness, and the prevention of commodity dumping,
It is not Activated until this moment, not to mention the prices of imported goods that are low in cost compared to local production,
Which made the issue worse.
Examples of the frightening import volume currently taking place in the country are:

The volume of trade exchange between Iraq and China exceeded $ 21 billion in 2018, according to official Iraqi data,
As it exports it to $ 15 billion worth of oil in exchange for importing goods worth more than $ 7 billion.
As for the value of what Iraq imports from Iran – according to the Secretary of the Committee for the Development of Iranian Economic Relations with Iraq,
Hassan Danaei – it ranked first in importing Iranian goods in 2018 with $ 11 billion, which is the total value of goods and energy imported from Iran,
Which aspires to increase the value of exports to Iraq.

As for Turkey, it announced in 2018 that it aims to raise the volume of trade with Iraq to 21 billion dollars in the year 2019, that is, two years ago from now,
And the total amount is Iraqi import of Turkish products.

The volume of Iraqi imports in 2016, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, reached nearly fifty billion dollars.

At a time when the countries of the world seek to develop alternative resources to oil and preserve as much as possible this
Wealth for future generations through the development of various other sectors, we find that the situation in Iraq is exactly the
Opposite and that all that happens is a systematic destruction of all the country’s capabilities so that future generations will have no choice
But Migration if available !!!

 

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Thualfuqar Center for Strategic Studies, Research and Human Rights .... Thualfuqar center is a private, independent research institution concerned with public affairs in Iraq and the effects of its regional and international environment.

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