Iraqi government leans on ITC trade-data expertise to form economic policies
Iraqi government officials are better equipped to analyse global trade and market access data to inform trade policies aimed at increasing exports, following a capacity-building workshop led by the International Trade Centre (ITC).
Fourteen delegates from Iraq’s Ministry of Trade gathered at ITC headquarters in Geneva from 23-27 February to learn about topics including trade and market access data analysis; non-tariff measures and trade agreements; institutional strengthening and capacity building for exporters, especially small and medium-sized enterprises; and the production, management and dissemination of trade information through websites and databases.
The week-long workshop was organized by ITC, the United States Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program and the United States International Trade Administration’s Office of Trade Negotiations and Analysis. One of the goals of the workshop was to assist Iraq’s economic integration in the Middle East and North Africa region through harmonization and improved transparency of non-tariff measures.
Iraq currently does not collect, produce or report trade statistics to international organizations and needs support in modernizing its customs infrastructure.
‘Iraq is in a period of economic transition with a view of integrating into the multilateral trading system,’ said Anders Aeroe, Director of ITC’s Division of Market Development. ‘ITC is pleased to assist Iraq in this process and support Iraq in producing and disseminating its market access data.’
The Iraqi delegates identified specific areas where they needed technical assistance, such as setting up a unit within the Ministry of Trade to support trade policy decisions and provide advice to exporters. Other areas include assistance in preparing for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), preparing studies on trade potential, broadening the industrial base and competitiveness of sectors, promoting export services, building databases for producers and analysing services issues in WTO negotiations.
‘This week has been beneficial for Iraq in terms of adopting new policies for economic agreements, with the assistance of the information provided by ITC,’ said Hashim Al-Sudani, Director-General of the Foreign Economic Relations Department of the Iraqi Ministry of Trade.
Stephen Gardner, Chief Counsel for the United States Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program, said: ‘This has been an excellent partnership to reach mutual assistance goals for Iraq, and I look forward to expanding our cooperation with Iraq and other countries going forward.’
According to the results of an anonymous survey, all of the participants said the workshop would help them make better decisions related to trade policies in the future, through their broadened technical knowledge.