Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, will lead a historic trade mission to Baghdad, Iraq, in October. Sánchez will accompany representatives from 14 U.S. companies on the department’s first trade mission to Iraq since the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq.
“The U.S.-Iraq bilateral relationship is entering a new phase of commercial engagement,” Sánchez said. “This trade mission will connect American and Iraqi companies in a partnership to rebuild the Iraqi economy. This mission will be economically and commercially beneficial to U.S. and Iraqi firms, and the citizens of Iraq.”
The unprecedented interest generated by last October’s U.S.-Iraq Business and Investment Conference held in Washington, D.C., and the activities of the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue have demonstrated that there is great opportunity for increased trade and investment in the region. Iraq’s GDP has more than doubled since 2006, soaring from $57 billion to $112 billion in 2009.
Iraq’s government has budgeted more than $80 billion for infrastructure development, focusing on a number of large projects relating to construction, highways, railways, telecommunications, and security and defense. Iraq’s private sector also offers a vast array of business opportunities for U.S. firms in many industries, including oil and gas (specifically oil field and upstream equipment, technology, and services); construction (specifically engineering, architecture, transportation, and infrastructure); and information and communications technology.
The following companies were selected for participation in the trade mission:
- America Cargo Transport Company – Seattle, Wash.
- Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. – Fort Worth, Texas
- Bond Building Systems, Inc. – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- CSECO – Alameda, Calif.
- Flatter & Associates – Stafford, Va.
- General Electric – Schenectady, N.Y.
- ICON Global Architectural Engineering – Bloomfield Hill, Mich.
- Newport Global Group, Ltd. – Middletown, R.I.
- Omnitrans Corporation – New York, N.Y.
- Sallyport Global Holdings – Bridgeville, Pa.
- Ted Jacob Engineering Group – Oakland, Calif.
- The Boeing Corporation – Chicago, Ill.
- TVC-MaxCell – Annville, Penn.
- Wamar International Inc. – Simi Valley, Calif.
“This mission brings business expertise into the country at a critical time, and will enable U.S. companies to position themselves to enter or expand their presence in Iraq,” Sánchez said.
The mission will provide U.S. participants with first-hand market information and access to government decision makers. Additionally, one-on-one meetings will be arranged with potential agents, distributors, and partners.
The Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) has representation across the globe to help businesses start exporting, increase their exports and find business opportunities in foreign countries, leading to job creation in America. ITA also helps ensure a level playing field globally for U.S. businesses.
This will be the Department’s 24th trade mission since President Obama announced the National Export Initiative (NEI) during his State of the Union earlier this year. As of today, Commerce has led 19 trade missions that included more than 195 companies to 25 countries. The NEI aims to double U.S. exports in the next five years, supporting several million new jobs.