Includes the barriers (tariff and non-tariff) that U.S. companies face when exporting to this country.
In 2004, Iraq was granted observer status to the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, WTO accession has since stalled, and with it major reforms. Since 2018, there have been many barriers to importing certain goods, including the increase in tariffs and reduced or cancelled import licenses. The GOI states these measures are to encourage domestic production.
In October 2020, the State Company for Iraqi Fairs and Commercial Services, part of the Ministry of Trade, signed a contract with German firm TÜV Rheinland to conduct overseas plant inspections for several categories of manufactured consumer goods coming into Iraq. After several delays, the GOI implemented this scheme whereby exporters or their agents must obtain a certificate of registration to obtain an import license. This process appears overly burdensome and expensive compared to other markets using third-party inspection regimes, and duplicative of other GOI licensing processes.
Corruption in all areas remains a significant problem. The former regime’s control of the economy left a legacy of state procurement and subsidies that continue to distort many market prices. Unfortunately, undoing this legacy will be a long process, and businesspersons still may have to contend with requests for bribes or kickbacks from government officials at all levels. Under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, U.S. companies may not legally comply with such requests.
Iraq has taken several steps to root out corruption. More than one high-profile GOI official has faced public arrest and trial on corruption charges; however, the prosecution and enforcement of corruption charges remains inconsistent and often target political rivals.