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U.S. Chamber Applauds Launch of United States Business Council in Iraq
'This Business Council Represents Another Concrete Example of
Positive U.S. Engagement With our Iraqi Partners,' Johnson Says
BAGHDAD, IRAQ--The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded the inauguration of the United States Business Council in Iraq today in a ceremony attended by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides and Dr. Sami Al-Araji, Chairman of the Iraqi National Investment Commission. The Council will seek to advance American commercial interests in the country and provide a forum for U.S. businesses to create long-lasting relationships with both the Iraqi government and its private sector.
"The Chamber joins the U.S. Business Council in Iraq in its dedication to promoting and strengthening the relationship with both the local business community and the government of Iraq," said Lionel Johnson, the Chamber's vice president for Middle East Affairs. "This Business Council represents another concrete example of positive U.S. engagement with our Iraqi partners."
In addition to a Chamber-led Iraq delegation in June, which included the participation of half a dozen U.S. businesses, today's ceremony underscores the growing business being conducted between U.S. companies and their Iraqi counterparts.
With an estimated 30 million citizens, Iraq is among the most populated nations in the region, and offers U.S. businesses a large new market to sell their goods and services. The country's economy averaged an estimated 4.5% real growth over the past four years as oil production has increased an estimated 22% since 2005. Moreover, the Iraqi government has spent more than $20 billion on reconstruction and investment projects each of the last two years, making billions of dollars in contracts available to U.S. companies.
"The potential for U.S. companies in the reconstruction efforts in Iraq makes the country one of the most vital markets in the Middle East region," said Johnson. "American business interests are expanding here each and every day and the Business Council will provide a platform for their interests to be voiced."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.