The United States is working with local business communities in Iraq and surrounding countries to promote private business opportunities and develop Iraq's economic sector.
US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, William Lash told reporters in Kuwait that the US views the Emirate as a "natural gateway" to trade in Iraq, reported Washington File. Since Kuwaiti businesses are already participating in Iraq's economy, "they have a unique position to understand the market," he said, "and we want to learn more about what they are doing."
Lash said that in February 2004, the Kuwaiti Minister of Finance would be sending a delegation of public and private sector representatives to the United States to promote their country "as a hub and a gateway into Iraq for business and investment and trade."
"I pledge the support of our administration and the Department of Commerce to assisting him and his colleagues in this mission, as well as other initiatives being taken in Kuwait by the private sector to promote trade and investment," said Lash.
"The Iraqi business community has a lot to learn from Kuwaiti merchants and traders," he said, adding that the Bush administration plans to bring businessmen from both countries together for joint venture possibilities.
The United States is also promoting similar "matchmaking opportunities" between Iraqi firms and their counterparts in other neighboring countries in the Middle East, he said, as well as supporting possible trade missions and training opportunities for entrepreneurs and government officials in the region.
Lash also pledged that the new round of contracts in Iraq will be "totally transparent and entirely open to all of our coalition partners." He said there was no guarantee that American firms would win any of the contracts, which are slated to go to the best-qualified and best-priced bidders.
The assistant secretary also said he would be meeting with Kuwaiti officials and business representatives to discuss bilateral economic relations, including a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA) that both countries plan to sign. — (menareport.com)
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