Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

Governments have many responsibilities, but one of the main requirements of government is not to get in the way.

If an economy is to grow, the administration must facilitate, or at the very least not hinder, people who are trying to create value, satisfy demand, and serve customers.

But the new inspection regime at Iraqi ports of entry is proving to be a major headache for many businesses trying to bring goods into the country.

Iraq's Central Organization for Standardization and Quality Control (COSQC) has started implementing the Pre-Importation Inspection, Testing, and certification of Goods into Iraq (ICIGI); in many cases, we are told, even ignoring the two months grace period.

Confusion over the requirements for Certificates of Conformity, and long delays in issuing them, have resulted in a huge backlog of freight at Iraq's borders, racking up charges and leaving orders unfulfilled.

According to Frankie France, director of Redcliffe International, the new regulations have not been thought through:

I've been shipping to Iraq for 21 years, and despite the wars there was some structure ... shipments were cleared and delivered ... Now it seems that someone has come up with this new idea, forgetting how many hundreds of containers would be stuck at the quay at Umm Qasr for more than two months.

These problems must be resolved with top priority.

[Please click here to see information provided by SGS, the company responsible for ICIGI, received following publication.]

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