The United States hosted a top level Iraqi interagency delegation to participate in the March 3-7 Iraq Business Week activities in Washington D.C. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch Shaways led a 30+ member public and private sector delegation to network with scores of major U.S. firms and explore expanding business opportunities in Iraq, now the United States’ 27th largest goods trading partner.
The delegation – which included Iraq’s Minister of Trade and the Chairman of Iraq’s National Investment Commission – addressed trade and investment challenges in Iraq, and discussed external financing options and their potential to assist in Iraq’s development.
The trip culminated with a Ministry of Trade delegation visit to Houston, TX to explore establishing a trade facilitation office, and travel by the Deputy Prime Minister to New York City where he met with a number of additional U.S. firms.
The Iraq Business Week activities included:
- High-level meetings at the White House, at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), and at the Departments of State, Commerce, Defense, Interior, and Treasury on political and economic issues including security, revenue sharing, and budget concerns.
- USTR-hosted a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement Councilmeeting on business development and trade diversification and ways for Iraq to advance its WTO accession process. USTR press release: http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/press-releases/2014/March/US-and-Iraq-hold-inaugural-Trade-and-Investment-Framework-Agreement-Meeting.
- U.S.-Iraqi Business Dialogue, co-chaired by the Department of Commerce and the Iraqi Ministry of Trade and comprising Iraqi and U.S. businesses.
- World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Export-Import Bank, and Overseas Private Investment Corporation meetings to discuss development financing options.
- Commercial Law Development Program discussion on fostering capacity development.
- Department of Commerce presentation on sourcing trade and economic statistics.
- U.S.-Business Council in Iraq hosted dinner for the delegation and U.S. firms.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce-hosted “Business Opportunities Forum” – canceled due to inclement weather, but reconstituted in part through direct engagement with 25-30 U.S firms at an Iraqi Embassy hosted dinner.
- United States Institute of Peace roundtable discussion.
- Congressional meetings on Capitol Hill.
- Business Council for International Understanding breakfast with U.S. firms in New York.
- High-level meetings with the Mayor’s office in Houston and the Bilateral U.S. Arab Chamber of Commerce to explore establishment of a trade facilitation office.
(Source: Embassy of the United States)