IBRAHIM KHALIL, Kurdistan Region – Truck drivers from Turkey are frustrated about being hit with customs taxes twice on the route to Iraq.
Their loads are taxed when they enter the Kurdistan Region and again when they pass into areas under federal Iraqi control.
“We don’t know where this money goes. They don’t give us a receipt. They don’t tell us whether this goes to Iraq or another place,” said driver Ahmed Bashir.
This has led to a 40% drop in trade, according to figures from officials at the Ibrahim Khalil border gate.
Control of borders and customs has been a longstanding dispute between the governments in Erbil and Baghdad.
The issue came up again during talks to ease tensions after the independence referendum and Iraqi forces returning to the disputed areas.
“Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are working on unifying the customs fee and the decision has been made,” director general of customs in the Kurdistan Regional Government. Samal Abdulrahman, told Rudaw in June.
Previous agreements on customs have fallen apart over the issue of who gets the revenue.
Turkey is the Kurdistan Region’s biggest trade partner. Construction is underway for a new border crossing between Kurdistan’s Erbil province and Turkey’s Hakkari.