867 Policy 2021/03/24 09:42 ha
Baghdad Today- Follow-up
The website of the American Chamber of Commerce revealed, on Wednesday (March 24, 2021), the most prominent things to be discussed by Baghdad and Washington in the round of the strategic dialogue, which is scheduled to be held next April.
The site said, quoting the American-Iraqi Trade Council: “While the two parties prepare to resume their strategic dialogue in April within the framework of the future of the US-Iraqi relationship, the council recommends focusing on a number of main axes interspersed with economic and commercial opportunities, as well as keeping the file of security and political issues at the forefront of the President’s administration’s concerns The new American Joe Biden towards Iraq. ”
He added, “President Biden spoke last February with Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazimi, assuring him of the United States’ support for the sovereignty and independence of Iraq, while also highlighting the importance of moving forward with the US-Iraqi strategic dialogue and expanding the scope of joint cooperation between the two countries.”
And the Council continued, according to the American website, that “the consequences of the Corona epidemic that affected the whole world had a great impact on Iraq, which increased the difficulty of its economic situation and the impact of this on its budget, which increases the importance of joint action between the United States and Iraq to support the Iraqi economic reform agenda as a tool The head of this strategy. ”
The Iraqi-American Council promised, “The private sector is a stabilizing factor for Iraq, and its strength must be strengthened to the fullest extent through cooperation with partners in the Iraqi government and the growth of the bilateral trade relationship as well as improving the livelihood opportunities for Iraqi citizens.”
The American site stated, “The Iraqi American Trade Council has a long history of working with the US government, the private sector and investors in Iraq, and we remain committed to continuing to work with our partners for the important goal of comprehensive economic growth through structural reforms, investment and renewal of our commitment to this valuable endeavor.”
The Trade Council recommended that the US administration take into consideration four main axes to strengthen the US-Iraqi strategic partnership and move it forward, which include the health aspect and the participation of the private sector in it, as well as enabling Iraq to rely on itself in the manufacture of gas and the development of infrastructure for this sector, and support reforms of the financial sector of Iraq And last but not least, encouraging the development of special economic zones to mobilize investment and create job opportunities in the country.
The American Chamber of Commerce website indicated, “With regard to the health aspect amid the outbreak of the Corona epidemic, the American-Iraqi Trade Council calls for strengthening the pledges made by the United States with Iraq through the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2020 between the US ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Toller, and the Director General of Health. General in the Ministry of Health, Riyadh Al-Halfi, to bring and supply medicines and medical equipment for health institutions in Iraq. The memo stated that a joint committee composed of the governments of the two countries holds a quarterly meeting every six months to follow up on the achievements in this field.
He continued, “Under the umbrella of the US-Iraqi strategic dialogue, the council recommends establishing an American-Iraqi dialogue in the field of health in order to create a forum through which post-Corona epidemic issues are resolved.”
In its recommendations, the council referred to “the necessity of engaging the private sector in the field of dialogue on health issues and any working groups that are interested in this topic. This can be achieved through a high-level working group consisting of representatives of the two governments in the field of industry and the medical sector and professional institutions that define and set the priorities of the health sector.”
And he continued: “As for the axis of gas manufacturing, developing its industry and ending its burning in the air, the development of this sector in Iraq would help in strengthening the movement of the country’s projects and many industrial sectors in it, which in turn create new job opportunities and maintain the pace of economic growth.”
The Council recommended that “the Biden administration invite a special meeting of the joint Iraqi-American Energy Coordination Committee, which was recently reconfigured in order to set its priorities in assisting Iraq to achieve its goal of ending associated gas waste and combustion and becoming an independent country in the field of energy and its production, taking into consideration the inclusion of The private sector as a factor in achieving this goal. ”
And through the Joint Energy Committee, the Council recommends that “the Biden administration encourages officials in the central government of Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government to work together to improve the development of the gas industry in the country, which will lead to the supply of sustainable electrical energy in all parts of Iraq.”
As for the third axis related to supporting the reforms of the financial sector in Iraq, it is “important to enhance American investment in Iraq and the contribution of the private sector in it, and that encouraging banking sector reform will have a positive impact across the country’s economy in general, and while government banks are important for the development of Iraq, it is the duty of private banks.” It also plays an important role in creating credit and receiving deposits, especially for individuals and small businesses. ”
Within the strategic dialogue, the American-Iraqi Trade Council recommended that “the US Treasury Department, in coordination with the Iraqi Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Iraq, launch a banking reform work group with the private sector also involved. Financial sector reforms proposed in the white paper will be tendered during the meeting that will take place in April through a virtual circuit.” “Between the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, with the Iraqi American Trade Council, the Ministry of Commerce, the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq and the Minister of Finance, as well as the participation of senior American banks and financial institutions companies.”
As for the fourth axis related to encouraging the development of special economic zones and creating job opportunities in the country, it is necessary for the United States and Iraq to have a bilateral investment agreement that facilitates the realization of commercial investment for American companies in Iraq.
The American-Iraqi Council pointed out that “while Prime Minister Al-Kazimi considered economic reform as a priority and expects its results in the long term, it is very vital to try to achieve progress in the short and medium term in order to involve American companies in the economic development opportunities in Iraq for the sake of To achieve this, the establishment of special economic zones in Iraq will help create more opportunities for American investment in the country and help diversify the participation of the private sector in Iraq. ”
He continued, “Areas such as Basra and Kirkuk will be among the areas that deserve to be nominated to launch the special economic zones model in Iraq, in order to accelerate the process of economic development and encourage broader reforms by achieving early success stories in partnership with the American private sector.”
The Council recommended that this issue be raised during the strategic dialogue meeting between the United States and Iraq, with the participation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, in order to increase the rate of American investment in Iraq.