A group of Iraqi and British businessmen declared in Amman Jordan Monday the formation of the first Iraqi-British chamber of commerce. The statement came after a joint meeting between the two parties in Amman and was announced during the Iraq Procurement 2004 pre-conference event.
The main function for the new chamber would be to entrench the bilateral commercial relationship between the two countries thus enabling British businesses to have a larger role in the rebuilding of Iraq.
Dr. Mostafa Bazergan, an Iraqi businessman and a project consultant for the Iraq Procurement 2004 conference, told Menareport “during a meeting between the two sides in Amman, they agreed to declare the foundation of the formation of the chamber, adding that further meetings will proceed in the future to set its structure.”
Bazergan also explained that this is the first such chamber between Iraq and the United Kingdom despite a long history of commercial cooperation between the two countries.
The first chamber of commerce to be founded between Iraq and a foreign country following the fall of the Ba'ath regime was the Iraqi-American chamber. The two chambers are expected to have a major share in the rebuilding of Iraq over the next two decades. Analysts have put the overall costs of the Iraqi reconstruction projects at more than US$150 billion.
"This chamber will open opportunities for Iraqi businessmen to participate in the process of rebuilding their own country with the help of their British partners. Although there are no accurate figures, I think the trade between the two countries had declined to 8% of what it used to be in the nineties. During our meeting with British businesses in Amman, it was agreed that the target for the chamber [in the next few years] should be to bring the current level of trade to 60% of what it used to be during the nineties."
The announcement of the Iraqi-British chamber of commerce coincided with Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi's first visit to Jordan, which as seen by some, was considered a testament to the Jordan’s role in Iraq’s future commercial relations with the international community.
"I think that this announcement in Amman indicates the importance of Jordan as a partner for the new Iraqi government. Jordan was Iraq's major trading partner for the past 15 years and we cannot forget Jordan's support for Iraq during the years we lived under UN sanctions." Bazergan concluded. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )