Iraq, UAE sign free trade accord
Iraq and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement Friday, November 2 to set up a free trade zone. This is the first free trade agreement concluded by Iraq -- under UN sanctions since invading Kuwait in 1990 -- with one of the Arab monarchies grouped in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
But Iraq, seeking to break out of its isolation, has signed free trade agreements over the past year with five other Arab countries -- Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and Algeria. Iraq last June also signed a four-way free trade agreement with Syria, Egypt and Libya.
Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, speaking at the opening of the annual Baghdad trade fair on Thursday, said similar agreements with more Arab countries were in the pipeline.
Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammad Mahdi Saleh and his visiting UAE counterpart, Sheikh Fahem Bin Sultan Al-Qassimi, signed Thursday’s accord. The GCC brings together Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in addition to the UAE. — (AFP, Bagdad)
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