In Iraq, a national lockdown to halt the coronavirus pandemic has found some unexpected fans: local businesses who no longer have to compete with Turkish, Iranian or Chinese imports.
Those countries, as well as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait, typically flood Iraqi markets with inexpensive products at prices local producers can’t compete with.
That includes everything from cars and computers to frozen chicken and even Iraq’s national fruit, dates, which in recent years were more often imported from the Gulf than plucked from local palm trees.
Local producers were left in the dust, struggling to compete given their expensive raw materials and low outputs compared to the enormous quantities being imported.
Not anymore, said Amin Qassem, who has operated an ice cream factory in the oil-rich province of Basra since 2006.
“The coronavirus crisis has allowed us to prove ourselves on the Iraqi market,” he said, relishing the sweet moment.
Source: Digital Journal, May 27, 2020.