Controversial customs checkpoints on roads linking Kirkuk and Mosul to Kurdistan Region set for removal on Feb. 17

February 9, 2019 at 12:38 pm

Kirkuk- A customs checkpoint on Kirkuk-Sulaimaniyah main road, January 2019 Photo: KirkukNow

KirkukNow

The Iraqi General Commission of Customs declared that customs checkpoints placed on main roads connecting Kirkuk and Mosul with the Kurdistan Region will be removed starting from February 17, 2019.

In a 6-point-statement issued on Friday February 8th, the commission announced that they plan to carry out the terms of the agreement they signed earlier with the Kurdistan Region’s directorate of customs, which also include the unification of customs duties and other procedures.

According to the agreement, three customs points, one of them on Mosul-Duhok road and the two others on Kirkuk-Erbil and Kirkuk-Sulaimaniyah roads will be scrapped.

Meanwhile, a number of employees were drawn from the Kirkuk checkpoints mid last week in preparation for the full closure.

Customs clearances will be issued in both Arabic and Kurdish

In September 2018, the Iraqi government under former PM Haidar al-Abadi set up internal customs checkpoints on the main roads connecting Kirkuk and Mosul with Kurdistan Region provinces. The move triggered public outrage as it affected businesses and resulted in a sudden increase in prices.

The Iraqi General Commission of Customs’s statement also indicated that customs clearances will be issued in both Arabic and Kurdish languages. Furthermore, all crossing points will be required to commit to the Iraqi council of minister’s decisions in order to protect domestic industries.

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