Border closed, trade from buffer zone

The closure of border gates with Iran and Iraq brought temporary alternative routes to the agenda. Export and import transportation will be carried out through buffer zones to be created at the borders.

The coronavirus epidemic, which originated in China and spread rapidly around the world, has spread to neighbors, disrupting foreign trade. After the borders were closed with Iran and Iraq, which are among Turkey’s most important export markets, the search for an alternative solution for the continuation of foreign trade transportation with these countries began. The Ministry of Commerce, taking the opinions of exporters and transporters, took action to create a ‘buffer zone’ that will enable goods to be delivered without crossing the border.

As known; When the coronavirus epidemic began to spread rapidly in Iran, other neighboring countries, including Turkey, closed the border with Iran the previous week against possible risks. Then, when the virus was seen in Iraq, closing the borders with this country came to the fore last week. Turkey’s closure of its borders with Iran and Iraq mobilized both the government and exporters and transporters. Because these two countries, especially Iraq, have an important place in Turkey’s foreign trade, with exports being a priority. In 2019, over 17 billion dollars of bilateral trade was made between the two countries and Turkey. The biggest share here is exports. According to the data of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM); In 2019, 9.4 billion dollars of exports were made to Iraq, and Turkish trucks made approximately 515 thousand trips during this period. While a total of 2.7 billion dollars of exports were made to Iran last year, 46 thousand truck trips were made by road in the same period. Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) Turkey-Iraq Business Council President Emin Taha and International Transporters Association (UND) Chief Executive Officer Alper Özel told the WORLD about the work carried out within the ministry and NGOs to prevent trade with these countries from being interrupted.

The load will be left in the buffer zone, the other party will pick it up

DEIK, Turkey-Iraq Business Council President Emin Taha said, “Our priority is, of course, human health. However, we need to continue our trade while taking the necessary precautions in this regard. One of the most important issues at the moment is the creation of a ‘buffer zone’ for trade to continue. The Ministry of Commerce is working on this issue. A tow truck will come from Iraq, take the trailer to Turkey with its load, and then bring the trailer back. At this point, of course, our companies have some concerns. We don’t know how much we can trust the Iraqi side. This may inevitably cause the business volume to decrease. There is no such area at zero point for the buffer zone. The river passes through Habur and there are bridges. Therefore, the buffer zone must either be in an area between Silopi and Habur before Habur, or in a large area on the Iraqi side and on the Halil İbrahim side. Because an area of at least 15-20 thousand trucks is needed for the buffer zone. “We are working to ensure that the trade volume does not decrease by consulting together with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, UND, TİM and DEİK on this issue,” he said. Emin Taha also conveyed the anxiety of the officials on the Iraqi side and said, “Iraqi officials and business people are in great anxiety. We hold meetings and try to reassure them. We work to protect the interests of both parties. “The buffer zone issue will become clear in a few days,” he said.

UND Chief Executive Officer Alper Özel said that they are working on alternative routes in cooperation with the ministry at the crisis desks established within the association. Özel said that establishing a buffer zone is on the agenda to avoid disruption of exports with Iran, as is the case with Iraq. Özel said that trial studies have started on a few trucks in this regard.

Georgia now requires the truck driver to present a passport

On the other hand, security measures were increased at the Sarp Border Gate in Georgia after the first coronavirus case was detected the previous day. Passengers entering Turkey through the Sarp Border Gate are scanned with thermal cameras and checked by the health personnel on duty.

Within the scope of the measures, truck drivers are now required to present a passport when entering Turkey, instead of using an ID card. Sarp Customs Enforcement Smuggling and Intelligence Manager Tahir Demir pointed out that the Ministry of Health personnel carried out the necessary thermal checks and said, “The daily capacity of 500 trucks and small vehicle traffic continues in the same way. Meticulous checks are carried out at the exits and entrances of our country.”

Source: https://www.dunya.com/ekonomi/sinir-kapandi-ticaret-tampon-bolgeden-haberi-463948

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