(MENAFN- Iraq Business News)
By John Lee.
Iraqi Prime Minister, Mr. Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, held a meeting with members of the American Chamber of Commerce in New York on Thursday evening (local time). The meeting was attended by businessmen, investors, and representatives of major American companies.
During the meeting, he praised the efforts of Mr. Steve Lutes, the Deputy Head of the American Chamber of Commerce, for organizing the meeting to inform investors about the business environment in Iraq.
Mr. Al-Sudani highlighted that Iraq offers fertile ground for investment in various important sectors, with untapped natural resources. He emphasized the importance of investing in a way that benefits the Iraqi people and strengthens the strategic relationship with the United States.
The Prime Minister addressed several key points during his speech:
The government is wisely investing revenue to activate non-oil sectors, acknowledging that depending solely on oil for budget enhancement is unsustainable. Efforts are underway to stop gas flaring in 2-3 years, with projects involving Total, Emirati, and Chinese companies. Iraq has announced 11 exploration fields in Anbar, Ninawa, and Najaf provinces, containing natural gas to be exploited for the first time in Iraq's history. Economic reform is a priority, and private sector collaboration with the government is essential for its success. Creating a favorable business environment for both foreign and American companies is a focus, aligning with the Iraq-US partnership vision. The Iraq-US relationship should extend beyond security. Iraq's business environment needs significant efforts to reduce bureaucracy and combat corruption. Every project related to a company will receive personal attention and obstacles will be removed. Reforms in the tax system, customs system, and economic laws are ongoing. A draft law for e-commerce regulation is in progress, and intellectual property protection is prioritized. Progress is being made on an e-payment law, and significant strides have been taken in financial and banking reforms. Iraq now has a transparent trade system compliant with global financial transfer standards. The Ministry of Commerce, in collaboration with the US Commercial Service and the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, is working on the third round of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) meetings in early 2024. TIFA aims to address challenges in Iraq-US trade and investment relations. American companies are encouraged to share their challenges operating in Iraq for solutions. The private sector is supported through the Iraq Development Fund, with additional capital planned for 2024. Agreements with Arab and global investment funds, including the Saudi Investment Bank, are in progress. The government will provide sovereign guarantees for industrial and agricultural projects in Iraq. Agreements with German Hermes and Italian SACE will facilitate the establishment of important industrial facilities with 15% participation from Iraqi businessmen and 85% sovereign guarantees. Iraqi businessmen have selected factories during visits to Germany and Italy, and agreements are being finalized based on market requirements. A significant improvement in healthcare services is aimed for through a new healthcare law and collaboration with specialized companies. Six hospitals are offered for operations, with American healthcare providers expected to play a role. Iraq's pharmaceutical market is valued at around $3 billion annually, with only 10% produced domestically. The government has issued supportive measures for pharmaceutical producers, with over 245 requests to establish pharmaceutical production lines. Modern irrigation technologies are being employed to combat water scarcity in agriculture, requiring specialized companies to develop this sector. Contracts have been signed with Emirati, Chinese, and Iraqi companies to establish solar power stations, and an agreement with Total aims to generate 1,000 megawatts of solar energy.
(Source: Media Office of the Prime Minister)
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