On April 13, 2005 the RF CCI hosted a Russian-Iraqi round table session. The meeting was organized by the Russian-Arab Business Council. It was attended by a number of Russian businessmen, the RABC Director Mrs.Tatyana Gvilava as well as members of a delegation of Baghdad Chamber of Commerce headed by CCC Chairman Mohammed Al-Qazzaz.
Prior to the meeting the delegation was received by CCI President Mr. Ye.Primakov who welcomed the delegates and expressed hope that business relations between the two countries will be restored and brought up to a new level, particularly between the Russian and Baghdad Chambers. To materialize their serious intentions, the sides initialed an agreement on cooperation between the BCC and the RF CCI.
During the round-table session the Russian and Iraqi businessmen discussed the restoration of once disrupted Russian-Iraqi ties and prospects for Russian companies return to Iraq in the light of the current political situation, safety for businesses in the Republic of Iraq as well as focused on the main directions and prospects for bilateral interaction.
As for the climate created in Iraq for foreign entrepreneurship, the BCC President Mr. Al-Qazzaz noted that his country is now reopened for business, since the national economies of the two countries are market-oriented and with the private sector taking up the leading economic role. According to him, a key role is being played in the development of private business by the BCC, which was set up back in 1926 and comprises over 30 000 businessmen. He went on to note that the Chamber is also responsible for controlling business transparency within the country and the movement of financial flows. Currently, taxes on goods are low - not exceeding 5% - while clothes, foodstuffs, medication and scientific literature are exempt from taxation.
The representatives of the BCC are positive that Russian businessmen should lay a solid foundation for their activities in Iraq. On its side the BCC is willing to assist in working out the directions of interaction, particularly as regards the creation of Russian-Iraqi joint ventures. “ Nowadays, Iraqi businessmen constitute a very real force to be relied on. Formerly, that role was played by state structures”, the Deputy Chairman of the BCC said.
The Iraqi side emphasized that all payments could be made through the Trade Bank of Iraq, legitimate heir to Rashid and Rafideyn banks. According to Iraqi businessmen, the chaos in the banking sector is now in the past and financial operations have resumed their normal course.
As for the situation in the energy sector , it was characterized as grave. It is in this area that the prospects for cooperation with Russian companies seem to be the brightest.
From the Russian side, the meeting was attended by CCI Vice-President Sergey Katyrin, Director of the RABC Tatyana Gvilava, Director General of the Investment and Financing Group INFICOM Victor Labusov, Deputy Director General of NEFTEGAZEXPORT Andrey Matveychev, Executive Director of INTERENERGOSERVISE Aleksander Rybinsky, Deputy Chairman of TEKHOPROMEXPORT A. Klimenko, President of ROKADA Company Aleksey Chepa as well as other members of the Russian Business community.