Over the past 10 years, Iraq has undergone a dramatic, rapid, and positive transformation from a centralized economy to a market economy based on competition, equal opportunity, and the development of the private sector. In a region that remains volatile and uncertain at times, Iraq presents businesses, entrepreneurs and investors with new opportunities, resources, and markets.
Iraq has registered double digit GDP growth rate thanks to oil exports and the rising production of hydrocarbons. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund predict GDP will grow by 10% in 2013, driven primarily by rising oil production and higher oil prices. Iraq has the world’s fifth largest proven oil reserves and plans to quadruple oil production by 2017. Government expenditures will continue to rise as we expect to allocate an increasing amount of the budget towards infrastructure and social services development.
As the country stabilizes, and Iraqis prosper, the Iraqi consumer base will grow. Iraq was the United States’ 58th largest export market in 2011. Iraq's location at the center of many historic and current middle-east trade routes provides an undeniable advantage; this advantage creates many opportunities for builders, suppliers, transporters, developers, producers, service providers, manufacturers, and financiers. The Government of Iraq can provide businesses and investors the right tools to land the best opportunities in country. For example:
- The One Stop Shop in the National and Provincial Investment Commissions facilitates the processing of the investment licenses applications, issuing the license, allocating the land, securing tax exemptions, and facilitating the entry and exit of investors and their employees.
- The Investor Guide provides the necessary information to facilitate entry and exit procedures to and from Iraq and how to enjoy the many benefits of the legal framework for investment in country.
In partnership with the U.S. government, Iraq is focused on creating a business-friendly environment. For example, on February 16, 2013, the U.S. and Iraqi governments, with private sector leaders, launched the second phase of the Iraqi Solutions for Administrative and Regulatory Reform (ISRAR). ISRAR seeks to create a diversified, competitive economy in Iraq that attracts investment and creates jobs by simplifying and eliminating regulations that hinder economic growth, particularly in the areas of business start-up, construction permits, and import-export licensing. In November, 2012, ISRAR unveiled a first set of 133 specific recommendations to streamline business in Iraq and in turn improve Iraq’s rank in the World Bank Doing Business Report. For example, the ISRAR recommendations will reduce the time needed to register a business from 74 days to 4 days. ISRAR is part of the broader effort to increase economic opportunity and prosperity throughout the country, as outlined in the Strategic Framework Agreement with the United States.
The government of Iraq stands ready to assist companies aiming at this vibrant and burgeoning market.
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