Doing Business in Iraq: Tread Carefully

By Raid Abu-Manneh.

This article first appeared in Building, and is published by Iraq Business News with the kind permission of the author.

A decade after the invasion of Iraq there are opportunities for UK firms in the country’s infrastructure sector. But they must be aware of the legal framework they will be working in.

Oil, security, infrastructure, corruption, getting paid – all of these are factors to be weighed in the scales when deciding whether to do business in Iraq. Ten years after the 2003 invasion where is the country now, in terms of opportunity, risk and law for the UK construction industry?

UK investment?

In 2010, according to a report of the National Investment Commission, in association with UK Trade and Investment, published by Allurentis, the value of the UK’s commercial activity in Iraq was $1,215m (£794m), 2.8% of foreign commercial activity by value.

Way out ahead of the UK was Turkey – with its obvious geographical logistical advantage – at 34.9%. Another seven countries also sit in front of the UK, including, in descending order, Italy, France, South Korea and the US.

What are the opportunities?

Iraq has massive oil reserves. It has budgeted for exporting 2.9 million barrels a day this year and its aim of producing 12 million barrels a day by 2017 would make it a very major player among producers. But getting to this target requires infrastructure.

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