The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will join together to boost trade and commerce in Iraq. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reached an agreement on Sunday to allocate $6 billion to support investments in Iraq and form business councils.
The purpose of the agreement is to improve trade between the countries and invest in projects within Iraq, reported the state-owned Iraq News Agency (INA). The UAE and Saudi Arabia each invested $3 billion for investment and commercial projects in Iraq in an agreement announced Sunday.
Abdul al-Razzaq al-Zuhairi, head of the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce (FICC), stressed the importance of the agreement to get Iraq’s economy back on track. “Iraq must keep up with the pace of the world and establish its trade process globally, taking into account the standards of the World Bank,” he said, according to INA, about creating an integrated system for importing and exporting goods.
“The first step began with registering data for merchants and registering companies. This is the great support that we got from the Council of Ministers and the United Nations, and we have reached a good stage,” added Zuhairi, taking one step closer to making Iraq a country with a developed economy. He noted that Iraq’s central geographic location positions it well to be competitive in global trade, connecting Europe with Asia.
Oil-rich Iraq continues to face a struggling economy, crumbling infrastructure and public services, in addition to political instability after decades of war led by the US invasion. In mid-June, the Saudi Export Development Authority organized a trade mission to Baghdad under the theme “Made in Saudi.”
The goal was to explore areas of cooperation where Saudi products could enter Iraqi markets and demonstrate its commitment to increase its non-oil exports, according to the governmental Saudi Press Agency. The trade mission had 37 Saudi companies and 100 Iraqi companies participate from various sectors, including construction, food products and packaging.
In February this year, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein called for more economic cooperation with Saudi Arabia, mainly in areas of investment and electricity, during his counterpart’s visit to Baghdad. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said at the time that positive economic development in Iraq created opportunities between the private sectors of the two countries’ economies.
During the same month, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani visited the UAE capital to discuss bilateral cooperation to enhance economic trade and investment. At the time, Abu Dhabi announced $500,000 in funding toward water infrastructure in western Iraq’s Sinjar.