Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki
Reaches Out to US
Businesses at U.S. Chamber of Commerce
December 14, 2011
The U.S. role in Iraq is changing.
American combat troops are pulling out and, says Iraq's prime minister,
it's time for U.S. businesses to take a prominent role in his country.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
The U.S. ends its military presence in Iraq this month, but Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki told business leaders at the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce Tuesday that the economic relationship between the U.S. and
Iraq is far from over.
"The mutual sacrifices and hard work between the two countries, and by
the two countries in fighting terrorism, this will be the bridge that
will make it possible for more American corporations to come to Iraq and
do their constructive work," said Maliki.
About 40 Iraqi business leaders accompanied Mr. Maliki to Washington
this week, eager to build strong partnerships with U.S. companies.
Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Thomas Nides welcomed them.
"This is a time for America to start thinking of Iraq as a country, not
as a war - one defined not just by who is leaving, but who is staying,"
Iraq's security situation leaves some companies hesitant to do business
there. Deadly attacks are frequent, but violence is down significantly
since peaking in 2006 and 2007.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Byson told the Chamber Iraq is worth the
U.S. companies see Iraq as a promising and important emerging market,
one that's said to grow faster, even now, faster in these years
immediately ahead, than China," said Byson.
After Mr. Maliki's comments, Deputy Secretary Nides said American
businesses should jump at the chance to serve tens of millions of Iraqi
"At the end of the day, it's about making money, it's about
opportunities, and there are plenty of opportunities to be had in Iraq,"
Iraqi leaders say they are committed to increasing the number of
American companies in their nation. As their prime minister said, it
will not be generals, but business leaders at the front lines of the new