Iraq - 'Everything Imaginable Needs to be Rebuilt'

The 2011 World Bank's "Doing Business" report ranked Iraq 166th out of 183 countries.

Despite its abundant natural resources, Iraq's GDP is very volatile, mainly because of its dependence on oil, a sector marked by extreme price fluctuations. While security has improved, widespread corruption, a fragile rule of law and complex regulations still make business owners' lives difficult.

Nevertheless, Iraq holds "tremendous opportunities" for investors, Schweitzer said.

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is taking a very aggressive approach in helping American companies to take advantage of the billions of dollars of infrastructure needs in Iraq," she said.

In 2008, the chamber created the Iraq Business Initiative with the goal of facilitating U.S. investment in the country.

While the oil and gas sectors have attracted large companies, Schweitzer said that American businesses haven't taken advantage of the services related to them.

"We have realized that Turkish, Chinese, French, German and Indian companies are doing much more business there than American companies," Schweitzer said.

The infrastructure and the energy sector, she said, also offer increasing opportunities.

While Schweitzer acknowledged that doing business in Iraq isn't for everybody, she said it is worth it for companies to explore what the country has to offer.

"It's very important, since America paid the highest price to get this country to the point of being a democracy," she said.

(Source: UPI)

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