7-16-2012 SWFloridaGuy (Part 1): Today there were two reports released that show us the direction Iraq headed. According to the World Bank, Iraq is now ready to comply with their obligations and their application for full WTO accession is currently being reviewed for acceptance as negotiations continue. In addtion to forming a complete and functioning GOI, Iraq has six major issues they are working on right now. 1. Improving the banking sector. 2. Improving the infrastructure. 3. Improving transparency within government procurement procedures. 4. Designing economic zones for effective investment promotion. 5. Implementing their "vision" for national investment commission possibilities. 6. Effectively promote investment opportunities. Iraq must have a tradeable currency to accomplish their goals and reclaim their economic prowess in the region (as it should be). The IMF, World Bank and the OECD-Mena initiative have continued to promote broad reforms to enhance the investment climate, modernize governance structures, strengthen regional and international partnerships, and promote sustainable economic growth.
7-16-2012 SWFloridaGuy (Part 2): This is no simple task and after decades of war, Iraq alone does not have the capacity to accomplish this. They don't have to. This has been a joint effort from the beginning and together with the IMF, World Bank and countless other government entities, commissions and organizations they have been able to implement policy reforms, develop legal framework, involve practitioners and the private sector, use amendments and decrees to update and modernize existing Iraqi laws, ensure alignment with the overall strategic industrial development strategy of GOI using other international templates to ensure compatibility with related laws of the country i.e. public private partnership, customs, financial regulations etc. We need to keep in mind many governments and corporations are heavily invested in Iraq and continue to support their reconstruction because like us, they see Iraq's potential and have invested heavily in order to reap the benefits themselves. There are certain key factors they monitor closely and will support (to protect their interests) such as political stability and the health of sectors which can maximize net economic gain. They can increase benefits by improving Iraq's image on an international level.
7-16-2012 SWFloridaGuy (Part 3): In Iraq, government procurement plays an important role in supporting the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the national economy as well providing the necessary infrastructure for the development of the private sector. The modernization of the legal and institutional frameworks for procurement is a priority for the GOI. Iraq is once again receiving help and using certain international blueprints such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Agreement on Government Procurement of the WTO, the Model Law of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and the European Commission Directives to accomplish this . The World Bank, IMF and European Union recommended procedures such as the agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) of the WTO, the Model Law of the UN Commission on International Trade (UNCITRAL) and the European Commission Directives. The goal is to enhance economic integrity, transparency, credibility and prevent misconduct. Actually, Iraq is the one requesting (and receiving) help in these areas. Iraqi officials frequently fail to act for fear of violating new rules and procedures which they donít understand. However, some of the responsibility of supervision has now been transferred over to the Council of Ministers, which is a good sign.
7-16-2012 SWFloridaGuy (Part 4): Iraq is also looking into global guarantees applied for by contractors and issued by the banks for a given period. For foreign firms they will use guarantees of banking institutions based in their countries of origin, then register with the Iraqi banks. The calculation of the bid bond as a percentage of the published price of the tender will facilitate the obtaining of these guarantees. The Iraqi banking system plays an important role in these transactions. The bottom line is: for Iraq to successfully implement the next stage of their economic reforms, they must continue to consult with representatives from the private sector, bilateral donor agencies and international organizations - such as the UN, WTO, IMF and the European Union - to ensure they are in compliance with international "proviso" or requirements. With the issuance of Investment Law No.13, the economic approach in Iraq has transferred from the centrally guided economy to a market economy, which of course is an important change in the economic philosophy. There are many aspects and contributing factors we will never be fully aware of, but we can follow the general progress and recognize that (with a lot of help) Iraq is moving forward economically and their goal (clearly) is not only integration but establishing sustainability.