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Amman, Jordan - Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Ashley Wills and Iraq’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ali Abdulameer Allawi, signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) today during a meeting of the U.S. – Iraq Joint Commission on Reconstruction and Economic Development. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, who chaired the U.S. delegation to the Commission meeting, attended the signing ceremony.
"I am delighted that we have reached agreement with Iraq on the TIFA. Iraq is making a major effort to reintegrate into the international economy, and the meetings of the Joint Council should assist Iraq in this important endeavor. We believe that the U.S. – Iraq TIFA will enhance trade between our two countries and assist Iraq as it seeks to grow and diversify its economy," Assistant USTR Wills noted at the signing.
The TIFA provides a forum for Iraq and the United States to examine ways to expand bilateral trade and investment. It creates a Joint Council that will consider a wide range of commercial issues and sets out basic principles underlying the two nation’s trade and investment relationship. The Council will establish a permanent dialogue with the expectation of expanding trade and investment between Iraq and the United States.
The United States has TIFAs with a number of countries to develop bilateral trade and coordinate regionally and multilaterally through regular senior level discussions on trade and economic issues.
In 2004 the U.S. exported to Iraq goods valued at $856.5 million. In the first four months of 2005 imports increased at a rate of 150%. Imports from Iraq were valued at $8.5 billion in 2004, mainly petroleum.