Iraq flag Iraq: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Iraq

Foreign Trade in Figures

Iraq is relatively open to foreign trade, which represented more than 69% of the country's GDP in 2019 (World Bank, 2022). The Iraqi government’s new trade policy aims to integrate the country’s economy into regional and international markets and consequently the country has very few trade barriers. Crude oil accounts for more than 90% of Iraqi exports whereas petroleum products make up for the rest. Gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons are among Iraq's main items of import, followed by tubes and pipes, as well as electrical transformers and cars.

United Arab Emirates and Turkey are among the major trading partners of Iraq. India, China and the United States are the top three destinations for Iraqi exports whereas Turkey and China are by the far the main suppliers in Iraq, accounting for nearly 60% of imports in Iraq (Comtrade, 2021).

Iraqi exports of goods fell to 41.7 billion USD in 2020 from 82.3 billion in 2019, while those of services fell to 3.5 billion USD from 7 billions USD. At the same time, imports of goods declined to 44.4 billion USD, and those of services fell to 13.6 billion USD. Trade surplus narrowed to 5.88 billion USD from 32.16 billion USD a year earlier. The Iraqi government implemented new laws to strengthen trade and has more recently sought to build a highway between Baghdad and Cairo via Amman to boost trade relations between Iraq, Egypt and Jordan. Iraq has also invested in strengthening its hydrocarbon export capacity, primarily by building a port located in the Persian Gulf. However, on the top of the COVID19 pandemic, insecurity, high levels of corruption, fragile institutions, lack of legal protections and poorly implemented structural reforms discourage foreign trade.

Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 48,50656,87646,26244,48466,217
Exports of Goods (million USD) 63,60492,83182,30941,73886,298
Imports of Services (million USD) 16,15817,78522,66213,67913,255
Exports of Services (million USD) 5,6535,3066,9913,4994,373

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 59.865.869.056.761.8
Trade Balance (million USD) 25,37447,48432,1685,90238,363
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 15,15035,05516,620-4,09027,554
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 10.416.628.4-23.94.2
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 25.925.030.929.424.2
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 33.940.838.127.237.6

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

International Economic Cooperation
Given its oil potential, Iraq seeks a larger role in Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and to strengthen its ties with its Arab neighbours.
Iraq is a member of the League of Arab States and the Great Arab Free Trade Agreement. In 20013, Iraq ratified a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union in 2012.

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.


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Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: March 2023

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