The Iraqi-British Joint ministerial Committee for Trade Cooperation held its first meeting in Baghdad on 12th February. The Iraqi side was headed by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, while the British side was headed by British Minister of State for Middle East Affairs, Alistair Burt, and attended by a number of senior officials and ministers from both countries.
The Iraqi side was also represented by Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Affairs, Rose Nouri Shaways, Deputy Prime Minister for Services Affairs, Salih Al Mutlaq, and the ministers of trade and transport, Chairman of the Investment Commission, representative of the Advisers Commission and Cabinet General Secretariat, Deputy Chief of Army Staff, representatives of the Ministries of Municipalities, Public Works, Higher Education, and Oil.
The British side was represented by, UK Ambassador to Iraq, Simon Collis, Strategic Director in the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Edward Oakden, Senior Adviser at the Defense Department, General Simon Mayal, Manager of the Iraq-Britain Business Council (IBBC), Baroness Emma Nicholson, and representatives of British companies and trade bodies.
The two sides agreed on holding biannual meetings of the Ministerial Committee in both countries and discussed opportunities in the Iraqi market and to focus on specific sectors such as education, cultural exchange, infrastructure, aviation, and Defense sales. The Committee also discussed ways to overcome the obstacles that hinder cooperation in the areas of visas, movement of goods and people, and direct Airways.
At the end of the meeting, the Iraqi Foreign Minister and British Secretary of State signed an agreement to establish the Iraqi – British Ministerial Council for business cooperation. They also agreed on holding regular meetings with the participation of a larger number of representatives of the two countries to remove obstacles facing the development of bilateral relations.
The two sides held a joint press conference at the Foreign Ministry building, attended by Arab and foreign news agencies and satellite channels.