PM: The Relationship Between Iraq And The US Cannot Remain Limited To The Security Aspect/ More
Baghdad / NINA / -Prime Minister Muhammad Al-Sudani confirmed that the relationship between Iraq and the United States cannot remain limited to the security aspect.
Al-Sudani said in a speech during a meeting with members of the American Chamber of Commerce, in the presence of a number of businessmen, investors and representatives of major American companies: “The Ministry of Trade, through the Commercial Attaché in Washington and with the US Trade Representative Office, is working to hold meetings for the third session of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in the first quarter of 2024.
He explained during the meeting that took place yesterday evening, Thursday (Baghdad time), according to a statement from his media office, that “the function of this agreement is to identify the challenges facing trade and investment relations between Iraq and the United States,” calling on all American companies to present the challenges they have facing the process of their presence and work in Iraq to develop solutions for them.
Al-Sudani appreciated the efforts of the Vice President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Steve Lutz, in arranging this meeting to inform investors about the business environment in Iraq.
He stated, "Iraq is a fertile land for investment in many important sectors, and there are natural resources that have not been invested yet, and the time has come to invest them in a way that achieves prosperity for the Iraqi people and contributes to strengthening the strategic relationship with the United States."
He added: "Our government invests revenues correctly to activate important economic sectors other than oil, as it is not possible to continue to rely on oil to strengthen the budget and cover obligations, as was the case throughout the previous stage."
He stressed that the wrong path of wasting burned gas will stop within 2-3 years, after the completion of the gas projects that began with Total and the Emirati and Chinese companies in the fifth round.
He said: “We announced 11 fields and exploration blocks in the governorates of Anbar, Nineveh, and Najaf, which include natural gas that will be invested for the first time in the history of Iraq, adding that economic reform is a priority, and it cannot be implemented without the presence of an effective and capable private sector that is a partner with the government.”
He said, “We focused on providing a favorable business environment for foreign companies in general, and American companies in particular, by virtue of the capabilities they possess, and also within the path of the vision for the partnership between Iraq and the United States.”
He continued: “The business environment in Iraq requires a great effort to reduce bureaucracy, and we have the decision and will to stop corruption through legal procedures, and companies cannot be made vulnerable to blackmail or red tape, and every project and file related to a company will have care and follow-up from us personally, and we will work to eliminate "All the obstacles you face."
He stated, “We are working on reforming the tax system and the customs system, and we are currently preparing a draft economic reform law that addresses the gaps in several laws,” adding, “We have a draft system for regulating e-commerce, and the government is also committed to protecting intellectual property, and we have adopted a draft law that was sent to the House of Representatives to vote on.”
He continued, “We are working diligently on the draft electronic payment law, and we have made great strides in financial and banking reform, through our relationship with the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury, and today we have clear and transparent trade that is subject to global compliance standards in financial transfers.”
He stated, “We supported the private sector in the budget law, through the Iraq Fund for Development, which has a capital of 750 million dollars during 2023, and in 2024 we will add an additional amount, and we are currently making understandings with Arab and international investment funds, specifically with the Saudi Investment Bank, where we have partnership in this aspect.
He pointed out that the government will provide sovereign guarantees in the budget law to establish industrial and agricultural projects in Iraq, adding that "we have understandings with the German Hermes Foundation and the Italian Sochet Foundation, and they are prepared to provide production lines for important laboratories and factories in the industrial sector in exchange for 15% of Iraqi businessmen and 85 % provided by the government as a sovereign guarantee.
He also pointed out that "a delegation of Iraqi businessmen toured Germany and Italy and identified factories, and is currently in the process of reaching understandings to implement these projects that were chosen according to market requirements."
He stressed: We want to achieve a real shift in health services, and we have a health insurance law, and we have a new philosophy that represents a transitional stage for implementing this law, through joint operation with companies specialized in providing health services, added we presented 6 hospitals and we hope for the presence of American companies specialized in providing medical and therapeutic services in operating these hospitals.
He stated that the size of the pharmaceutical market in Iraq amounts to approximately $3 billion annually, with national production representing only 10%, and the rest is imported, indicating that the Council of Ministers issued a package of decisions to support pharmaceutical producers, and today there are more than 245 requests to establish production lines for the pharmaceutical industry. "
He stated that "we are moving strongly towards using modern irrigation techniques to confront water scarcity, and there are areas suitable for agriculture and an attractive environment, but they need specialized technologies and companies to develop this sector."
He concluded by saying, “We have concluded contracts with Emirati, Chinese, and Iraqi companies to establish solar energy stations, and we have concluded a contract with Total to generate 1,000 megawatts of solar energy.”/End