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Iraq: 3rd Round Of Negotiations For A Trade Deal


Iraq: third round of negotiations for a Trade and Cooperation Agreement

On 27-29 November the EU and Iraq will hold the third round of negotiations for a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) in Brussels. The areas foreseen to be covered by this round of negotiations are energy, environment, some trade provisions, human rights, science and technology and security, weapons of mass destruction and counter terrorism.

The TCA negotiations were launched by Commissioners Ferrero-Waldner and Mandelson, on behalf of the Commission, and by Barham Salih, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, on behalf of Iraq on 20 November 2006. The TCA will help to progressively strengthen the EU's relations with Iraq and integrate the country in the world economy.

This agreement aims to improve the trade arrangements between Iraq and the EU, covering a wide range of issues, including trade in goods, services, measures to encourage investment, customs, intellectual and industrial property rights, and public procurement rules.

Co-operation could cover a number of key aspects in the economic area, as well as in the human and social development, environment, culture and education. All agreements with third countries now feature human rights, terrorism and WMD as important elements.

By entering into negotiations for contractual relations with Iraq, the EU aims to:

* Facilitate Iraq's engagement with the international community and with the EU in particular, to the benefit of the internal and regional stabilisation process.

* Stimulate and anchor ongoing institutional and socio-economic reforms at both policy and operational levels.

* Contribute to the socio-economic development of Iraq and to the improvement of living conditions in the country.

* Promote bilateral trade relations in accordance with WTO principles.

* Ensure a minimum level of predictability, transparency and legal certainty for economic operators.

The negotiations take place at high official's level.

Background

Since 2003, the European Commission has contributed more more than €800 million towards the reconstruction of Iraq with a focus on assisting Iraqi people in accessing basic services, furthering democracy, and promoting good governance. The Commission opened a Delegation in Baghdad in December 2005.

After the round, the chief negotiations (Hugues Mingarelli, Deputy Director General for External Relations, on behalf of the European Commission, and Dr Mohamed Hamoud Bidan, Deputy Minister for External Relatinos, on behalf of Iraq) will meet the press on Wednesday afternoon.

ENDS

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