Within the Framework of the Iraqi- French Business and Investment Forum
Baghdad Hosts Major French Companies- MEDEF International Members
The Iraqi – French Business and Investment Forum works started in Baghdad on the 25th of November 2013 and continued for two successive days under the patronage of H.E. Prime Minister, Mr. Nuri Kamil al- Maliki and with the attendance of Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs, Dr. Hussein al- Shahrestani, a number of Iraqi Ministers, Parliament members and those involved in the economic sector in Iraq.
Dr. al- Shahrestani initiated the Forum with a speech through which he emphasized that the government had been keen during the previous years to achieve the gradual and thoughtful economic transformation in the various fields in Iraq and especially investment field which had witnessed legislating the investment law no.13 for the year 2006 that submitted required guaranties for investors and contributed to supporting and encouraging them through many incentives represented by tax exemptions, customs facilitations necessary for goods entrances and exits, facilitating capital movement and allocating lands required for the investment projects.
The government of Iraq had set a plan for an overall economic development in Iraq for the years 2013-2017 concentrating on diversifying the economic resources and constructing a solid economic foundation that covers all sectors.
In the energy sector, al- Shahrestani clarified that a plan had been set to construct new power stations, the capacity of which shall exceed 20 thousand MW. These power stations had already been introduced to service to add electrical capacity for the national grid production the matter that helped in continuous power provision; he also announced that the government had taken for the first time the decision to invite Iraqi and foreign investors to invest in the electrical power provision sector to build new power stations on the basis of (I.B.B). The government also is currently studying the possibility of privatizing the electrical distribution sector and the oil derivatives distribution sector which are considered new opportunities for local and foreign investors.
In the Oil sector, the Deputy Prime Minister referred to the large increase achieved in oil production not only on the level of Iraq but also on the world level after succeeding in finalizing the licensing round through which big famous international companies had participated in the extraction process in Oil fields.
He also referred to the opportunities available to develop the Iraqi industrial sector which focuses on petrochemical and fertilizers production, with 7 MOUs signed with big international companies in these fields, in addition to other available investment opportunities in the sectors of transport, housing and others inviting French companies to study cosiderig Iraq as a principal site for producing and marketing their products in the middle east promising to find all required support and capacities.
NIC Chairman, Dr. Sami al- Araji opened the Forum works with a welcome speech asserting the importance of attending this big number of French businessmen which reflects their confidence in Iraq’s capability to overcome all difficulties.
French Ambassador, Mr. Denys GAUER said in his speech that France is of the first countries that had resumed its relations with Iraq after 2003 and had always been committed to provide support for the reconstruction process after decades of suffering and isolation.
Mr. GAUER added that French companied were encouraged to return to the Iraqi Market with putting all state capabilities under their disposal in order to support the external trade, stating that open policy was adopted in the field of granting entry visas for Iraqis aiming at facilitating their visits to France.
The Forum works included an extensive session held in the first day of the forum under the title of “Doing Business in Iraq” chaired by Minister of Trade ad NIC Chairman and focused on available investment opportunities.
While the second day included 2 sessions, the first, chaired by Mr. Ihsan al- Attar- Deputy Minister of Oil, on the sectors of Energy, transport, infrastructures and industry, while the second session was, chaired by Mr. Ameer al- Baiaty- Deputy Minister of Telecommunications, on telecommunications, health, banking and insurance. The 2 sessions were followed by networking session between the two sides aiming at laying down visions and objectives required to create solid partnerships.