The Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Rowsch Shaways, on Tuesday invited Indian industry to actively participate in re-building the war-torn Iraq by making investments and entering into business ventures.

Addressing a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) function here, Dr. Shaways said Iraq needed investment in all sectors, particularly housing. “We hope that through your visit we will strengthen economic and commercial ties in all sectors and will look forward to build-up our contacts and co-operation with reputable and experienced Indian firms and businesses,” he added.

Bilateral trade between the two nations has increased from $5.7 billion in 2006-07 to $9.7 billion in 2010-11. The main export items from India to Iraq include metals, electronic goods, basmati rice, meat and machinery. Imports include crude oil, fruits and nuts, sulphur, wool and chemicals.

Dr. Shaways said Iraq was changing from centrally-planned economy to a market-economy. “Iraq had enormous natural resources such as hydrocarbons, land mass and mineral wealth. I invite Indian business people to participate in the development of Iraq through trade and investment. Iraq was reforming its financial, legal and administrative infrastructure in order to integrate Iraq with the global economy,” he said.

Iraq's Minister for Trade Kheer Allah Hassan Babkr said the sectors that had vast potential for foreign investment in Iraq included oil and gas, power, housing, transportation, telecommunication, railways, roads, ports, agriculture, education and tourism. Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said that India supported the reconstruction efforts in Iraq and its stability. She said the government and the people of India stood with Iraq and would continue to work with Iraq.

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