News / Middle East

US, Iraq Move Forward to Strengthen Trade Ties

A worker adjusts a pipe at the Nassiriya oilfield in Nassiriya, southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Sep. 8, 2012.
A worker adjusts a pipe at the Nassiriya oilfield in Nassiriya, southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Sep. 8, 2012.
Reuters
An agreement between the United States and Iraq to boost trade and investment ties is expected go into force later this year, eight years after it was negotiated, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said on Wednesday.

U.S. companies in the energy, defense, information technology, automotive and transportation sectors in recent years have become increasingly active in Iraq, which the United States invaded 10 years ago this month.

The United States and Iraq negotiated a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in 2005 to create a government-to-government forum to discuss how increase trade and investment flows between the two countries.

The Iraqi parliament finally ratified the TIFA text in December, and the two sides firmed up plans to proceed with the forum in meetings this week in Baghdad.

"After an exchange of diplomatic notes brings the TIFA into force later this year, the first meeting of the Joint Council for bilateral consultations on trade and investment issues can take place in 2014," USTR said.

Two-way trade between the United States and Iraq in 2012 was $21.3 billion, with U.S. exports to Iraq at $2.04 billion, and Iraqi exports to the United States at $19.3 billion, most of that oil.

Last week, the United States and Afghanistan held their seventh TIFA meeting since 2004 to discuss a number of initiatives, including the war-torn country's hopes of joining the World Trade Organization by the end of 2014.

In another move aimed at building U.S. trade ties with the Muslim world, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced on Sunday plans that should allow more Egyptian companies to qualify for duty-free treatment on exports to the United States as long as they use inputs from Israel.

Kirk said he planned to liberalize the designation of existing "Qualifying Industrial Zones" in Egypt to make all production facilities, present and future, in the zones potentially eligible for duty-free treatment.

"Egypt's and Israel's desire to add new features to their joint QIZ program underscores the success of the program in fostering closer ties between the people, businesses and governments of these two countries," Kirk said.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs