US and Iraq Hold First TIFA Meeting

US and Iraq Hold First TIFA Meeting

Tax-News, Wed, Mar 12, 2014

by Mike Godfrey

The United States and Iraq held the inaugural meeting of the Joint Council, established under the United States-Iraq Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.

Intended to continue efforts to improve the economic relationship between the US and Iraq, Joint Council meetings will provide a permanent forum for annual senior-level discussions on trade and economic issues, including services, transparency, worker rights, and intellectual property. One of its aims is to identify and work toward the removal of impediments, both tariff and non-tariff, to trade and investment.

Both Governments confirmed that they place strong importance on broadening their strategic partnership beyond military and security ties. During the TIFA Council meeting, representatives from the US and Iraq discussed business development and trade diversification with an emphasis on trade and investment cooperation in agriculture, electric power, housing projects and infrastructure, engineering, metallurgical and petrochemical projects, and light and heavy industry.

Iraq explained that it is making important progress to support the importation of goods into Iraq, and to ensure that US companies can participate in Iraqi government tenders by reducing unnecessary documentation requirements.

US-Iraqi cooperation is also aimed at further integrating Iraq into the global economy, to create jobs and attract investment in both countries. In that regard, the US expressed its continued support for Iraq's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the two Governments discussed ways for Iraq to advance its WTO accession process.

Iraq is currently the US's 27th largest goods trading partner and 60th largest export market. US goods exports to Iraq in 2013 totaled USD2bn, and Iraqi goods exports to the US last year reached USD13.3bn. Total US foreign direct investment in Iraq is USD1.2bn.

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