Iraq - Country Commercial Guide
Market Challenges
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Iraq ranked 160 out of 180 on Transparency International’s 2020 corruption perceptions index.  Problems in Iraq include bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the ineffectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts.  According to some businesspeople, corruption seems to be less of problem, though is still significant, within the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR).
Security:  The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to Iraq due to COVID-19, terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, and Mission Iraq’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens.  The current security environment slows economic development in many areas of Iraq and discourages U.S. corporate security offices from approving travel to Iraq.  U.S. citizens visiting Iraq are advised to check the U.S. State Department’s website at for the latest information on travel to Iraq.  Travelers should check this link for any updates to the security situation before leaving the United States. 

Government Procurement:

The GOI’s ability to tender projects is fundamentally weak and often lacks incentives preferred by industry.  Across the board, there are institutional capacity issues regarding due diligence, project awards, approvals, implementation, financing, and payment.  There are also many procurement-related scams and reselling in the market. For tenders solely executed at the provincial level or in the IKR, the tender process may differ and is reportedly easier to navigate in many instances.  The provincial procurement law has made procurement at that level easier.  

Intellectual Property Protection:  

Functions protecting intellectual property rights are spread across several ministries.  The patent registry and industrial design registry are under the Ministry of Planning’s Central Organization of Standardization and Quality Control (COSQC); copyrights and related rights are controlled by the Ministry of Culture; trademarks are administered by the Ministry of Industry and Minerals.  Iraq is a member of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the World Intellectual Property Organizations Convention, the Arab Agreement for the Protection of Copyrights, and the Arab Intellectual Property Rights Treaty.  Enforcement of intellectual property rights is difficult to achieve, however.  Counterfeit consumer goods and electronics are widely available.  The GOI has said it is committed to stopping or controlling the spread of counterfeit products for consumer safety reasons.  In July 2011, the government implemented a new pre-certification requirement for the most imported product categories.  Some products arriving at Iraqi ports are required to have a certificate of conformity issued by COSCQ or issued by Intertek Int. Limited, HQTS Helmsan & Quality & Technology Services, Vilinezone Adritica S.R.I, or Geo Chem Middle East or other proper authority at country of origin. Please visit the COSCQ website for more information  

Commercial Disputes Settlements:  

The enforcement of foreign arbitration awards for the private sector is applied haphazardly.  Iraq has made some progress.  In January 2016, Iraq ratified the Convention on the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States.  In March 2021, the Council of Representatives (COR) voted to ratify the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958 New York Convention); at the time of this report, the GOI still needs to formalize its ratification with the UN.  Iraq’s Ministry of Oil has written into its contracts that international arbitration is to take place at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

Arab League Boycott (ALB): 

In 2013, the Council of Ministers issued updated guidance instructing ministries not to apply ALB laws.  In the past, some ministries have ignored this guidance and inserted ALB-reflective language into patent registration and procurement documents.