Two Groups in Bid to Stabilize Iraq’s Business Climate

Nov 11, 2003, 07:36

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Iraqi-American Chamber and ICC join forces to promote trade and investment
Two Groups in Bid to Stabilize Iraq’s Business Climate
Iraqi-American Chamber and ICC join forces to promote trade and investment

Baghdad and New York, November 10, 2003 – The U.S. arm of the International Chamber of Commerce, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), announced today that the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry has joined ICC, the world business organization.

The two groups pledged to work together to bring stability to Iraq’s business climate and improve the country’s capacity to attract much-needed trade and investment.

For Iraqi business, Saddam’s demise solved only part of the problem

“The challenge of making Iraq a safe and conducive location for business is enormous,” Raad Ommar, CEO of the Iraqi-American Chamber, said from Baghdad. “But partnerships with groups like ICC are crucial to the process. Iraq has tremendous natural and human resources. We are confident that, with a little help, Iraqi entrepreneurship can be channeled for real growth and development.”

The chamber, headquartered in Southern California, with a field office in Baghdad, expects to cooperate with the Paris-based ICC in implementing a number of additional steps to improve conditions for business in the war-torn nation. Iraq’s re-entry into the International Chamber of Commerce is an eventual possibility once the private sector is back on its feet, according to ICC officials. ICC presently has national committees in some 90 countries and direct company membership in 50 others.

“ICC looks forward to working with the Iraqi-American Chamber to help lay the groundwork for the successful reconstruction of Iraq and its full integration into the world economy,” said ICC Secretary General Maria Livanos Cattaui.

Iraq’s ICC national committee ceased functioning in 1974. As a first step in rebuilding relations between the world business organization and Iraqi business, representatives of the Iraqi-American Chamber were invited to attend ICC’s September World Chambers Congress in Quebec City, Canada. Shortly thereafter, the group joined ICC via USCIB’s chamber membership plan, the USCIB Associates Program.

An initial priority will be to secure Iraq’s adherence to the New York Convention, a key international treaty allowing for recognition of foreign arbitration awards in the country. Such recognition is often critical in securing international contracts and investment. ICC’s International Court of Arbitration is the world’s most well-respected forum for the settlement of commercial disputes.

The Iraqi-American Chamber won recognition for an August survey of Iraqi business conditions and expectations. The poll found that fully 70 percent of Iraqi companies surveyed expected conditions to improve under the transitional authority, versus just four percent expecting conditions to worsen. Last month, the Chamber joined with the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Enterprise Development to create and manage a business training facility in Iraq.

The Iraqi-American Chamber plans to make full use of the eTraderoom service provided through the USCIB Associates Program. eTraderoom is a Web-based tool to manage the international trade process from order to fulfillment, with customized information on such things as compliance, rules and regulations. “It’s a tool with enormous potential for companies looking to do business in Iraq, where for now the Internet is often the most reliable form of communication,” said Mr. Ommar.

USCIB promotes an open system of global commerce. As American affiliate of the leading international business and employers organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade. The USCIB Associates Program provides chambers of commerce and related groups with direct access to valuable information, contacts and tools to promote international business, via ICC and other international channels.

Raad Ommar, CEO, Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(818) 249-1525 or

Jonathan Huneke, VP Communications, USCIB
(212) 703-5043 or

Iraqi-American Chamber website

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