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U.S. commerce officials: With investment, Iraq could resemble flashy Dubai within a decade

U.S. commerce officials: With investment, Iraq could resemble flashy Dubai within a decade

Iraqi businessmen and their American backers tried Wednesday to persuade Gulf investors to put their money in war-torn Iraq, saying the country's devastation could give way to glittering high-rises and luxury hotels in a decade.
With the right mix of enthusiasm and cash Iraq could "be like Dubai in 10 or 15 years," the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Iraq, Timothy Mills, told the conference of some 160 Iraqi and Emirati businessmen gather in Dubai.
Oil-rich Dubai is considered the world's fastest growing city, with hundreds of skyscrapers, including one planned to become the world's tallest, either under construction or already built. It is a cosmopolitan city that, unlike Baghdad, has virtually no crime and little violence.
Andrew Wylegala of the U.S. Commerce Department acknowledged that the transition would be difficult. "Its not a simple time to be doing business in Iraq," he said.
However, things could be much worse, Wylegala said. He pointed to the success of Iraqi street traders in providing cheap goods as an example of the benefits of the free market.
The convention here was aimed at luring Emirates-based companies to invest in some of the most hard-bitten Iraqi provinces. Delegates included members of the al-Anbar Business Association, located in the western Iraqi province that is the epicenter of the Sunni Muslim-led insurgency fighting the U.S. troops in the country since 2003.
The meeting suggested measures such as a liberal investment law and an application for membership in the World Trade Organization as means to lift Iraq's war-ravaged economy.
Mills said that Iraq's Kurdish north and Shiite-dominated south were already calm enough for investment. He hoped improved business and living conditions would contribute to pacify the country. "When you provide an economic incentive there is a potential quelling of unrest," Mills said.
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Updated : 2021-10-19 01:29 GMT+08:00