EU and Iraq in third round talks for trade and cooperation agreement

Business Intelligence Middle East | 28 November 2007

EU and Iraq in third round talks for trade and cooperation agreement

Moussa Ahmad

IRAQ. The European Union and Iraq are holding the third round of negotiations for a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) in Brussels from 27-29 November. The negotiations cover energy, environment, some trade provisions, human rights, science and technology, security, weapons of mass destruction and counter terrorism. The agreement will progressively strengthen the EU’s relations with Iraq and help integrate the country in the world economy.

The TCA negotiations were launched on 20 November 2006 by the EU’s External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson on behalf of the European Commission, and by Barham Salih, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs.

This proposed agreement will enhance trade in goods and services between Iraq and the EU and improve bilateral arrangements in a number of areas, including investment, customs, intellectual and industrial property rights, and public procurement. Cooperation will also cover key aspects of economic and social development, environment, culture and education.

All Trade Cooperation Agreements with third countries also feature human rights, terrorism and WMD as important elements.

By entering into negotiations for contractual relations with Iraq, the EU said in a statement that it aims to:

- Benefit the internal and regional stabilization process by facilitating Iraq’s engagement with the international community and with the EU.
- Stimulate and consolidate institutional and socio-economic reforms.
- Contribute to the socio-economic development of Iraq.
- Promote bilateral trade relations in accordance with WTO principles.
- Ensure a minimum level of predictability, transparency and legal certainty for economic operators.

Since 2003, the European Commission has contributed more than US$1 billion towards the reconstruction of Iraq with a focus on access to basic services, democracy and good governance. The Commission opened a delegation in Baghdad in December 2005.

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source: BI-ME