Ibrahim Khalil border-crossing point between the Kurdistan Region and Turkey. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will soon unify customs duties to streamline the system and stop the double taxation of the Kurdistan Region’s businessmen, a top customs official has said.
“Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are working on unifying the customs fee and the decision has been made,” Samal Abdulrahman, director general of KRG customs, told Rudaw.
An Iraqi delegation was scheduled to arrive in the Kurdistan Region on Saturday to discuss the plan, but it was postponed, Abdulrahman revealed.
“In many aspects, Iraq’s customs fee is harsher and the fee is high. We will, however, try to unify the customs fee in a way to the advantage of the Kurdistan Region’s businessmen,” Abdulrahman added.
The Kurdistan Region and Iraq have two different customs fees, causing disputes between Baghdad and Erbil. They previously reached a preliminary agreement on unifying the customs fee, but could not agree on who would receive the revenues.
Iraq argues that because it pays the salaries of the border staff, who are federal employees, the money should go back to its treasury. The KRG disputes this.
The Kurdish business community wants the system unified, as traders are regularly charged twice – once by the KRG and again by Iraqi officials – when they move their stock.
Even the Kurdistan Region’s agricultural products get charged extra, undermining farmers’ profits and creating a surplus in the Region, leading to lower prices.