Tureibil: The Market in the Aftermath

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Mon 4 September / Sep 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

Two years have passed since the closure of the Karamah-Treibil border crossing with Iraq.

Last week, the Jordanian and Iraqi governments have been celebrating the reopening of the crossing, which since has seen the crossing of 10 to 15 passenger vehicles every day.

As for freight transportation and shipping there were none; zero.

Now, to be fair, these figures aren’t much of a surprise, nor a big deal. Especially since the reopening was followed by the Adha Eid holiday, a vacation in both countries.

If anything, this only proves that the interstate is indeed secure and safe, for now.

However, even with the American private security companies guarding the interstate through Iraqi territories, it will take some time to make sure it remains that way.

Various economic and commercial sectors of business have begun preparations for the resumption of trade on the Amman-Baghdad interstate.

Shop owners all along the highway are also setting up.

Everybody’s looking forward to the restoration of commercial activity with our partners to the East.

Still, success in this situation transcends securing an interstate highway.

It goes further understanding the new Iraqi market and its demands. It is no longer oil for food.

Once, our merchants would unload everything they had into the Iraqi market, without even considering the quality of their products, not to mention specs.

The embargo on Iraq has stripped the Iraqis of options, forcing it to let it all in, regardless of quality measures, in order to meet to the demands of a large domestic market.

Of course, this requires of the Jordanian business sector to reconsider the quality of the commodities supplied to the Iraqi marketplace.

Our businesses need to measure up to the needs of the Iraqi consumer, which has changed since.

Meanwhile, there are other regional markets and sectors competing over the Iraqi marketplace, including Turkey, the Arab Gulf, and other countries. All rivalling for shares of the Iraqi market.

Not to mention the fact that the Iraqi economy has also changed over the years; various factories have been constructed, ahead of an infrastructural and industrial development underway.

Competition in Iraq is the rule of the newly emerging free Iraqi market.

Needless to say, we never had to compete over the market there. This requires a lot of change.

Rivalry weighs heavy on our prospects to compete in the Iraq consumer market.

This would necessitate a comprehensive, strategic shift in our commercial, trade approach with Iraq.

Naturally, this begins with understanding the needs of the Iraqi consumer market and various other segments of the market there.

Of course, no individual effort could suffice in this regard. This requires an all-encompassing economic endeavour, group work, to revaluate and re-calibre our economic, commercial strategy.

Chief among the bodies which can contribute significantly to this effort are the Social-Economic Board and the Jordan Strategy Forum.

The two can outline an effective penetration strategy into the Iraqi market through joint, organised work, instead of individual diligence and uncalculated risks.

It would be a mistake to just approach the occasion of the Treibil crossing’s reopening as merely a means to increase commercial exchange.

This is a short term approach, which does not capitalise on the opportunities renewed by the reopening.

Iraq is one of Jordan’s few, major hopes for economic alleviation, particularly under the weight of an intensifying economic crisis and very humble growth rates.

Notably, these growth rates will not help Jordan alleviate any of its intense issues.

Today, we stand on the verge of a new chapter in Jordan’s economic aspiration. One which constitutes various different economic, industrial, commercial, agricultural, and construction opportunities for Jordan to tap into the prospects of an economic partnership with Iraq.

We need to appeal to the Iraqi market demand, and if we do not gateway to endless economic horizons, ahead of other rivals seeking to explore the Iraqi market.

Even though our political ties with Iraq are good, this will not suffice in building economic ties.

The key to building a strong economic stance in the Iraqi market is competitiveness. Especially in such a political setting that is ever susceptible to division and fluctuation.

Political ties will not carry our economic aspirations in Iraq to prosperity. No one knows what will come out of the upcoming Iraqi elections, featuring Abadi and Maliki.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.