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Iraq investment beckons

Growing stability in Iraq has inspired a burst of foreign investment, though eight years after the U.S. invasion — you know, the one the Bush administration launched to exploit Iraq’s oil and other resources — the United States remains a bit player, even trailing France. No irony there.

USA Today reported last week that foreign investment in Iraq is on track to double in 2011. The paper cited a report by Dunia Frontier Consultants that said Iraq attracted $45.6 billion in foreign investment in the first half of the year — about $3 billion more than all of 2010.

And at a recent World Bank forum, business leaders agreed that Iraq, having reached a level of political stability, is poised to emerge a business leader in the region. One expert called Iraq “the most exciting investment opportunity in the Middle East right now.”

Now, no one is yet sinking billions into gleaming new fac-tories or office parks, and the risk of investing money and personnel in Iraq remains high.

But construction of new schools and housing, contracts to develop the nation’s oil fields and rebuild its unreliable electrical grid are finding willing bidders. The newspaper reported that South Korea is responsible for a quarter of this year’s foreign investment, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is encouraging more American companies to consider options in Iraq.

There are myriad legal and security complications involved, though the U.S. government and business groups are working to reduce those barriers. Provincial Reconstruction Teams have even sponsored several “Made in USA” catalog fairs featuring American companies, mostly related to construction and industrial equipment.

Even France agrees, the climate is improving. And that is good news for the people of Iraq

Iraq investment beckons -  Source

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