Clare:  Working Party Chair visits Baghdad to hold high-level consultations on Iraq’s accession

16 JANUARY 2024


The Chair of Iraq’s Accession Working Party, Ambassador Saqer AlMoqbel of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, visited Baghdad on 15-16 January 2024 to galvanize political support for the resumption of Iraq’s WTO accession process.

The Chair engaged in high-level meetings with the Government, emphasizing the importance of the accession process to advance Baghdad’s economic reforms. The Government of Iraq affirmed its full commitment to an early resumption of the process by enacting the necessary economic and legal reforms.

The Chair’s visit was the first by a WTO delegation to Iraq, whose accession process started in 2004. It focused on the resumption of the work of Iraq’s Working Party, which last met formally in April 2008. His visit started with a meeting with President Abdul Latif Rashid, who affirmed “Iraq’s keenness to join the WTO by achieving the commercial and economic standards” and highlighted the work of Iraq’s National Committee on WTO Accession to prepare for the formal resumption.

During his two-day visit, the Chair also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning Mohamed Tamim, Minister of Trade and Chair of the Iraqi National Committee on WTO Accession Atheer Al Ghurairi, the Head of the Parliamentary Economic Industry and Trade Committee Ahmed Al Kinani and the Representative for the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Hussain Al Uloom. He was also invited to attend the 36th meeting of the Iraqi National Committee on WTO Accession.

Ambassador AlMoqbel, appointed as Chair in June 2023, stressed the strategic importance of Iraq’s accession for the WTO membership, and especially for the Arab region, which is currently one of the most underrepresented in the organization.

“Iraq is one of the largest economies which remains outside the multilateral trading system,” he said, highlighting the benefits of WTO membership for Saudi Arabia, which joined the organization in 2005. “Given its strategic location, Iraq’s integration into the global economy through WTO membership can help deepen regional economic integration, which in turn can contribute to peace and security in the region,” he added.

All meetings confirmed the strong political will to accede to the WTO by the government, which believes that the accession process can contribute to “consolidating security and stability, developing economic activity, encouraging foreign investment in the country, in addition to consolidating relations with neighbouring countries and the world,” as explained by President Rashid.

Despite the lack of formal engagement since 2008, the Working Party met informally in November  2017 and discussed how to reactivate its technical work. In 2022, Iraq circulated eight key accession documents, including the revised Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR), replies to members’ questions, a revised Legislative Action Plan, updated information on agricultural domestic support, and questionnaires on import licensing and customs valuation,

During the visit to Baghdad, the Chair was informed that Iraq’s initial market access offers on goods and services would be circulated soon, in preparation for holding the 3rd meeting of the Working Party in the middle of 2024.

The team in the Ministry of Trade will “take real steps that will shorten the path to Iraq’s accession to the World Trade Organization and ultimately benefit from the advantages offered by this accession,” indicated Minister Al Ghurairi.

The Chair also met with representatives of the European Union and the United States as well as the International Trade Centre (ITC), which provide technical assistance to Iraq. “Addressing Iraq’s technical assistance needs would go a long way in facilitating the resumption of the accession work,” he noted.


Clare:  Parliamentary Economy indicates the risks of the “parallel market”: “important” sessions with the Central Bank next week

1/23/2024   Baghdad

The Parliamentary Economics Committee pointed out the dangers of the “parallel market,” while revealing “important” sessions with  Central Bank of Iraq officials next week in order to coordinate and support the market.

Parallel market risks

Today, Tuesday (January 23, 2024), a member of the Parliamentary Economics Committee, MP Briar Rashid, monitored the danger of the “parallel market” in Iraq.

Rashid said in an interview with “Baghdad Today,” that “many factors contributed to creating the parallel market for dollar exchange in Iraq, which is currently far from the official price set by the Central Bank at about 20 thousand dinars for every 100 dollars ( The official price is 132 thousand dinars for every 100 dollars). $)”.

Coordination with the central

Rashid pointed out that “the continuing gap between the parallel and the official is putting strong pressure on the markets and increasing the rate of price rise,” stressing that “his committee will hold a series of sessions with the Central Bank starting next week in order to coordinate towards supporting the markets and responding to the requirements of companies and traders in order to reduce prices as much as possible.” Possibility.

He explained that “supporting banks and openness in the labor market and production is a priority during the next stage,” stressing that “increasing national production will reduce the demand for hard currency and lead to reducing the parallel market, and this is what we are seeking to achieve at the present time.”

Deep State” control

On (January 4, 2024), financial expert Saleh Al-Bankari identified the danger of the deep state in the parallel market for the dollar, while pointing to 3 “pressuring” factors on price fluctuations .

The banker told “Baghdad Today”, “The fluctuation of the dollar exchange rates in the parallel market recently is due to three direct pressing factors, and is centered on the Central Bank’s measures to limit smuggling and launch its electronic platform, as well as the US Federal Reserve sanctions file and its handling of economic conditions .   ”

He added, “The third factor lies in government dealings through adopting the electronic payment file,” indicating that “the political scene in its internal and external data and the events surrounding the region constitute the most dangerous factors for the parallel market in the country, noting that there is no complete control over the border crossings.” With all its addresses to reduce smuggling .  “

Regarding the dollar in the parallel market, the expert said, “The parallel market is subject, in one way or another, to the control of the deep state, referring to very influential parties who are behind the series of speculations that took place in the past months in order to recover more profits .     LINK


Militia Man  Big push…They are finishing the reforms…But one of the things they need…is an international currency exchange rate.  They haven’t started pumping oil to the Cyan Port yet, whyBecause they haven’t had a customs valuation yet.  Why haven’t they gone to the WTO just yetBecause the WTO is going to need what?  Valuation.  What did they say they were going to bring in the short term The customs valuation with the WTO…They need big movements.  They’re going to need a Real Effective Exchange Rate.  1310 is radically different than what I believe a Real Effective Exchange Rate is.

Frank26  It’s complex, the monetary reform.  There are many facets to it.  There’ are many things happening.  There are many levers and buttons being pushed and moved.  The beauty of it is these things are actually occurring…I don’t know when they’re going to release the new exchange rate…All I know is that they are…



Greg Mannarino:  1-13-2024