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Apr 02 2011

Baghdad seminar to discuss possibility of Iraq's membership in WTO

By Jaafar al-Wannan Baghdad - A number of experts and government officials discussed on Saturday Iraq's access to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in a seminar hosted by the Institute of economic reform.

The Excutive Chief of the Economic Reform Institute Munaf al-Sayegh said in the opening speech of the symposium that the WTO is completely interested in commercial issues, therefore the joining of Iraq requires, during the current phase, activation of important economic laws, such as the customs law, the Banking law, the law of oil and gas, and other important economic laws.

"The private sector did not reach in turn to the economic maturity and factory workers became unemployed and this prevents Iraq from communicating with the general commercial structure in the world."

The trade minister Khairallah Hassan Babiker said in a speech presented on his behalf that "Iraq continues its efforts to join the WTO to establsih economic twinning with the economically and commercially developed countries that have permanent membership in the WTO."

"The Trade Ministry, in coordination with the economic institutions, is working to open dialogue with the private sector, and to develop a joint mechanism to improve the economic situation which facilitates its joining for the WTO. There are some economic constraints that develop Iraq's commercial needs and would hinder the access of Iraq to the permanent membership of the Organization".

The head of the Economic Committee in the Iraqi parliament Ahmed al-Alwani who headed the seminar told AKnews that this seminar is very importance, as it would put the Iraqi economy to the correct path in case its results were well exploited and the work was properly done to achieve them."

"The role of the Economic Committee in the parliament will be represented by focusing on the development, investment, and banking sectors and land ownership and the introduction of economic privatization."

"Iraq's accession to the WTO will provide it high marketing ability and will remove the barrier of economic and commercial isolation experienced by the country," adding that "the next stage requires the liberalization of trade from restrictions and laws that intersect between foreign and local trade of Iraq."

While Kamal al-Basari, the member of the Trustees committee of the Institute said in his lecture presented at the conference: "I try to ask a set of questions, notably what is the organization's impact on the countries of the world, and what is its influence on Iraq in case the latter joined it?"

"If Iraq did not get the membership of the Organization, this will contribute to the deterioration of the value of foreign investment, and the clear decline in total agricultural production and exports decline too."

"The industry doesn't get the attention of the Iraqi government, therefore, its role in the general income of the country is 1%, as well as in the status of agricultural situation, where the role of agriculture was not activated as required."

"13 billion acres, according to the latest statistics, are ready for planting and sufficient for the local production and provide food security, but the negligence of the state for the Iraqi farmer did not achieve that."

"The number of state-owned enterprises is 192 projects that employ 800,000 workers, and the government is unable to pay their salaries. The issue needs 2 million $ from the state budget, therefore, Iraq should enter the World Trade Organization to develop its situation."

"There are two types of problems in Iraq's entry into the World Trade Organization, including the ability of capital and other technical problems."

The Iraqi Trade Ministry called the United States to support Iraq to join the WTO.

On January 29, the Iraqi Trade Ministry announced that Iraq is "convinced" about the legislation package approved by the Iraqi parliament to support the trade policy in the country.

Iraq seeks to obtain permanent membership in the WTO, rather than an observer member, as it is now.

The WTO was founded in 1995 and includes 147 international countries as permanent members.

The organization aims to create economic world that preserves the rights of the consumer and producer through an international system of laws through the full employment of state resources and prevent the sale of goods of non-international origins.

© AK News 2011


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