Iraq Industry & Trade News


US “struggles” to convince Iraq to cut ties with Iran

By John Lee.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry spent the last two days trying to convince the Iraqi government that it’s in its best interest to cut energy ties with Iran.

But according to a report from Washington Examiner, his efforts have had limited success.

Perry tweeted:

“In bilateral meetings with Iraqi President @BarhamSalih, Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi, and Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi I reaffirmed that the U.S. stands ready to assist the Iraqi people in transitioning from Iranian energy dependence to using their full domestic energy potential.”

Iran is Iraq’s neighbor and an important supplier of the natural gas that fuels the nation’s electric grid, which is crucial to Iraq’s economy and oil industry.

More here.

(Source: Washington Examiner)

Meeting Between UK and Iraqi Chambers of Commerce

On Wednesday 12th December, the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was pleased to host a first meeting between the British Chambers of Commerce and Chamber of Commerce & Industry representatives from the Kurdish Region of Iraq.

Erbil Chamber of Commerce is a founding member of IBBC and the IBBC is now the affiliate Chamber for Iraq of the British Chambers of Commerce.

Liam Smyth, International director represented the British Chambers.

Dr Dara Al Khayat, Chairman Erbil Chamber and Chairman of the Kurdish Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry was joined by the Chairmen of Sulaimani and Dohuk Chamber of Commerce.

The work of all the Chambers was discussed and in particular areas where the KRG requested UK involvement was identified.  Apart from oil and gas and utilities there was much discussion about the agricultural and food processing potential of the region. In addition mining, tech and textiles were also put forward as sectors which foreign investment would be most welcome.

Both sides looked forward to continuing engagement with each other to mutual benefit.

(Source: IBBC)

Iraq buys Grain from US, considers Russia

By John Lee.

Iraqi trade minister Mohammed Hashim has reportedly signed a deal on Thursday to import wheat and rice from the United States.

According to Reuters, the agreement covers the first half of 2019.

Meanwhile, Kurdistan 24 reports that a Russian delegation visited Baghdad this week to discuss exporting wheat to Iraq.

(Sources: Reuters, Kurdistan 24)

Iraq’s GDP to Grow 4.1%

By John Lee.

GDP growth in Iraq is expected to hit 4.1 percent in 2019, up from 2.8 percent this year, acccording to data from Moody’s.

The gain is based on an expectation of oil prices averaging $75 per barrel, and would be the highest level since 2016’s 13.1 percent expansion.

The National quotes the report as saying:

“Higher oil prices and output, as well as an expected increase in investment spending because of the improved security situation, have bolstered Iraq’s economic outlook … However, oil price volatility and potential further social unrest that could weaken Iraq’s economic infrastructure, as well as Iraq’s vulnerability to environmental risks, exacerbated by outdated infrastructure are continued risks to growth.”

More here

[In April, Fitch predicted 4.5 percent growth for 2019. – Ed.]

(Source: The National)

Emirates Steel eyes Expansion into Iraq

By John Lee.

Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Steel is reportedly considering expansion into Iraq.

Chief Executive Saeed Al Remeithi told The National:

We’re always looking at new markets, one of which we are targeting now is Iraq …

“Iraq is a big growth market for us, and from the logistics point of view it is very big. We have seen right now Iraq is more stabilised than in the past few years and we have already started on the market.

The company, which is part of Senaat, is currently in the middle of a refinancing programme.

More here.

(Source: The National)

Ethical Procurement – a Warning from the Field

By Elena Kornienko.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

A few months ago I was approached by one of my LinkedIn connections, an expat based in Iraq, with an exciting training opportunity for one of the largest oil companies in the region.

Some messages back and forth to clarify details and I am asked to submit a proposal and training programs content. And at this point of time my inner voice of procurement professional with 17 years of buying goods and services for various companies started asking me questions:  “Why you have not received an official enquiry and all correspondence is LinkedIn based? “ – “Well, that’s how the modern world works these days! Social media became integral part of our lives”. My inner voice said: “Ok, fair enough. But why this person did not use corporate e-mail account?” – “Well, it is easier to keep correspondence on a subject in one place, and it will be easier to refer to all discussion details”.

And my inner voice was satisfied with that explanation too. But it kept asking me more questions: “If that is a formal inquiry for services, it have to come using company’s standard, and this company absolutely have templates and even automated procurement system…”, and the next question was “Submission of training materials to a client is always subject to signing “Non-disclosure agreement” where Intellectual Property Rights are clearly defined. So why it does not happen this time?”. And that was the time when I listened to my inner voice and started asking the same questions the potential counterpart. It did not take long to understand that it was a fraud inquiry with a purpose of stealing information which was covered by big and famous name…

It is not a secret that most of International Oil Companies, including the ones which operate in Iraq, have as a part of their contract template schedule “Code of Business Conduct and Ethics” and a failure to comply with all rules is considered as material breach of a contract which leads to further collection of damages or early termination. This contract schedule establishes company’s standards that include business practices and regulatory compliance that applies to all company’s employees.

These standards are expected to be followed by contractors as a part of commitment to execute contracts in trustful and faithful manner. For those of readers who did not come across with such contract articles, here just a few examples of what is typically covered: alcohol and drug policy, insider information trading, bribery, corruption, business records, confidential information, computer and system security, conflict of interest, gifts, engagement with media and information partners. This is typical content of “Code of Business Conduct and Ethics” which is adopted by most of the players in the Oil and Gas industry, however is it enough to make sure that all parties involved are acting in a good faith to all concerned?

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) developed and implemented Corporate Code of Ethics with more focus for procurement professionals. It guides companies on ethical behavior in supply chain and promotes usage of procurement strategies to drive away unethical practices from the supply chain, assists to ensure that procurement decision minimize any negative impact, helps to put ethical policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance and the most important – mandates the education and training of all staff involved in sourcing, contractor selection and management to professional standards.  Great initiative that helps not only companies, but procurement professionals to set and follow rules of ethical procurement. It promotes professional behavior of procurement personnel who have the biggest exposure in a company for potential fraud and corruption.

While some of the companies are more advanced in implementing and following ethics standards in procurement, for others it is a new unknown road. Iraq has its own challenges in procurement and we can all contribute the development of ethics in supply chain by letting our inner voice ask questions even in circumstances when we feel great excitement for fantastic business opportunity.

Elena Kornienko has more than 15 years of professional experience in contracts, procurement and tendering in various roles from demand-identification to contract close-out. She has worked on major international oil and gas projects, including the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 fields in Russia, and Iraq’s West Qurna-2. Now based in Dubai, she provides consultancy services to the oil and gas industry. Elena is a fluent English and Russian speaker, and a graduate of the Moscow State University of Commerce, holding a degree in Economics. She also graduated with distinction from the School of Business Administration at Portland State University and holds a CIPS diploma.

(Picture: Ethics signpost, from 3D-creation/Shutterstock)

KRG PM Barzani receives Lebanese Delegation

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil, Minister of State for Combating Corruption Nicolas Tueni, and their accompanying delegation.

In the meeting, also attended by Kurdistan Regional Government ministers and senior officials, they discussed the political situation in Iraq including the post-election process, and the formation of the new Iraqi government and new Kurdistan Regional Government cabinet.

Minister Bassil thanked the Kurdistan Regional Government for its assistance and support to the Lebanese community. He emphasized the desire of Lebanon to strengthen relations with the Kurdistan Region, especially in the fields of investment, trade, tourism and culture.

Prime Minister Barzani reaffirmed the KRG’s support to Lebanese businessmen and investors. He praised the activities of the Lebanese community in the Kurdistan Region.

The political situation in the wider region was also discussed.

(Source: KRG)

Video: Iraq’s Ancient Pottery Industry Struggling

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s ancient pottery culture in the holy city of Najaf is dying out with the increasing demand for more modern products.

Iraqis, who traditionally used clay utensils for storing food and cooking are turning to cheaper plastic products made either elsewhere in Iraq or imported.

View on YouTube

Nineveh-Duhok Customs Post Removed

By John Lee.

The Iraqi government has reportedly removed the Fayida customs post between Mosul and Duhok province on Tuesday, following a parliamentary vote that deemed the customs points illegal and ordered their removal.

According to Rudaw, the checkpoint, along with two others established by former Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi between Sulaimani and Kirkuk and Kirkuk and Erbil, were a heavy burden on traders.

It adds that the other two customs points are also awaiting removal.

More here

(Source: Rudaw)

Iraq “Cannot Stop Trading with Iran”

Iraq’s new Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim highlighted the importance of bilateral relations with Iran and said the Arab country cannot cut off its trade ties with the Islamic Republic due to the US sanctions.

Alhakim pointed to Washington’s economic sanctions against Tehran and said, the value of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amount to $12 billion, the Arabic-language Al-Manar TV reported.

“We are not in a situation that we would be able to stop our trade exchanges with Iran,” the Iraqi top diplomat noted.

Earlier, Luqman al-Fili, the official spokesman for Iraqi President Barham Salih, had said that the US sanctions against Iran are part of regional tensions.

It is necessary that the citizens of the region are not affected by the embargoes, Fili said, adding that Baghdad is ready to cooperate to decrease the tensions.

The second batch of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran took effect on November 5.

Iran and Iraq enjoy cordial political, security and cultural ties but due to some internal and regional problems including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorism in Iraq, they have not been able to increase their trade volume.

Iran’s main exports to the neighboring country include agro products, foodstuff and fruits such as watermelon, tomato and cucumber, which account for 37% of the total exports.

Other Iranian exports to Iraq include canned food, tomato paste, chicken, egg, meat, construction materials (mainly rebar, tiles and ceramics), steel and evaporative cooler.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)