Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani met with members of the American Chamber of Commerce on Thursday evening (Baghdad time), in the presence of a number of businesspeople, investors, and representatives of significant American corporations.
According to Al-Sudani, Iraq is a fertile land for investment in many important sectors, and there are natural resources that have yet to be invested in a way that achieves prosperity for the Iraqi people while also contributing to the strengthening of the strategic relationship with the United States.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister made a speech, the highlights of which are as follows:
Our administration appropriately spends earnings to activate major economic sectors other than oil, because it is no longer viable to rely on oil to strengthen the budget and pay commitments, as was the case during the previous stage. The incorrect route of wasting consumed gas will come to an end in 2-3 years, with the completion of the gas projects that began in the fifth round with Total, Emirati and Chinese businesses.
We revealed 11 oilfield and exploration blocks in Anbar, Nineveh, and Najaf governorates, including natural gas that would be invested for the first time in Iraq’s history.
Economic reform is a priority, and it cannot be completed without the participation of an efficient and capable private sector.
We concentrated on creating a favorable business climate for foreign firms in general, and American companies in particular, based on their skills, and also in keeping with the vision for Iraq-US relationship.
The relationship between Iraq and the US cannot be restricted to security concerns.
The economic climate in Iraq necessitates a significant effort to eliminate bureaucracy, and we have decided and will to combat corruption using legal means, and enterprises cannot be put exposed to blackmail or red tape.
We will personally sponsor and follow up on every project and file relating to a firm, and we will try to overcome any barriers you may have.
We are striving to modernize the tax and customs systems, and we are now drafting an economic reform bill to solve gaps in various statutes.
We have a draft system to regulate e-commerce, the administration is dedicated to intellectual property protection, and we passed a draft law that was given to the House of Representatives for a vote.
We are working hard on the draft electronic payment bill, and we have made significant progress in financial and banking reform thanks to our collaboration with the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury.
Today, trading is clear and transparent, and money transactions are subject to worldwide compliance rules.
The Ministry of Commerce, in collaboration with the Commercial Attaché in Washington and the US Trade Representative
The purpose of this agreement is to highlight the obstacles that Iraq and the United States face in their trade and investment relations.
We urge all American enterprises to highlight the obstacles they encounter as a result of their presence and activity in Iraq. To provide solutions for it.
We backed the private sector in the budget bill by creating the Iraq Fund for Development, whose capital will reach $750 million in 2023 and will be increased in 2024.
We are now having discussions with Arab and international investment funds, notably the Saudi Investment Bank, with whom we have a collaboration in this regard.
In the budget bill, the government would grant sovereign guarantees to construct industrial and agricultural ventures in Iraq.
We have agreements with the German Hermes Foundation and the Italian Sochet Foundation, and they are willing to provide production lines to important laboratories and factories in the industrial sector in exchange for 15% from Iraqi businessmen and 85% provided as a sovereign guarantee by the government.
A group of Iraqi businesspeople visited Germany and Italy to identify manufacturers and is presently in the process of obtaining agreements to implement these market-driven ideas.
We aim to make a meaningful change in health services, and we have a health insurance law, as well as a new mindset that constitutes a transitional stage for implementing this law, via collaborative operations with health-care providers.
We proposed six hospitals and anticipate that they would be operated by American enterprises specializing in medical and therapeutic services.
The pharmaceutical market in Iraq is estimated to be worth $3 billion per year, with domestic manufacturing accounting for barely 10% and imports accounting for the remainder.
The Council of Ministers announced a package of resolutions to assist pharmaceutical businesses, and there are now more than 245 requests to create pharmaceutical manufacturing lines.
To address water shortages, we are actively leaning toward the use of advanced irrigation systems. There are fertile lands and an appealing atmosphere, but this industry need specialist technology and firms to thrive.
We signed contracts with Emirati, Chinese, and Iraqi corporations to build solar power plants, and we agreed to create 1,000 megawatts of solar energy with Total.