US, Iraq sign trade and investment framework pact

US State Department, 11 July 2005

U.S., Iraq Sign Trade and Investment Framework Pact

Agreement signed in Baghdad meant to help Iraq expand, diversify economy

The United States and Iraq have signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to promote bilateral trade and help Iraq expand and diversify its economy.

The agreement was signed by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Ashley Wills and Iraq Minister of Finance Ali Abdulameer Allawi at a session of the U.S.-Iraq Joint Commission on Reconstruction and Economic Development in Baghdad July 11, according to a USTR press release of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

A TIFA is a consultative mechanism to discuss issues affecting trade and investment between the United States and another country. TIFAs have been negotiated predominantly with countries that are in the beginning stages of opening up their economies to international trade and investment. In recent years, the United States has concluded many TIFAs, including ones with Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Turkey and Oman.

Although TIFAs are nonbinding, they can yield direct benefits by addressing specific trade problems and by helping trading partners develop the experience, institutions and rules that advance integration into the global economy, creating momentum for liberalization that in some cases can lead to a free trade agreement.

Following is the text of the USTR press release:


The Office of the United States Trade Representative

United States and Iraq Sign Trade and Investment Framework Agreement

07/11/2005

Amman, Jordan - Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Ashley Wills and Iraq’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ali Abdulameer Allawi, signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) today during a meeting of the U.S. - Iraq Joint Commission on Reconstruction and Economic Development. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, who chaired the U.S. delegation to the Commission meeting, attended the signing ceremony.

"I am delighted that we have reached agreement with Iraq on the TIFA. Iraq is making a major effort to reintegrate into the international economy, and the meetings of the Joint Council should assist Iraq in this important endeavor. We believe that the U.S. - Iraq TIFA will enhance trade between our two countries and assist Iraq as it seeks to grow and diversify its economy," Assistant USTR Wills noted at the signing.

The TIFA provides a forum for Iraq and the United States to examine ways to expand bilateral trade and investment. It creates a Joint Council that will consider a wide range of commercial issues and sets out basic principles underlying the two nation’s trade and investment relationship. The Council will establish a permanent dialogue with the expectation of expanding trade and investment between Iraq and the United States.

The United States has TIFAs with a number of countries to develop bilateral trade and coordinate regionally and multilaterally through regular senior level discussions on trade and economic issues.

In 2004 the U.S. exported to Iraq goods valued at $856.5 million. In the first four months of 2005 imports increased at a rate of 150 percent. Imports from Iraq were valued at $8.5 billion in 2004, mainly petroleum.

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source: US State Dept