May 18th, 2007 03:49 EST
Industrial Opportunities Comes With Stability
BAGHDAD — The U.S. deputy undersecretary of Defense for Business Transformation and Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals held a press conference at the Combined Press Information Center Thursday.
Paul Brinkley, U.S. deputy undersecretary of Defense for Business Transformation, and Fawzi Hariri, Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals, discussed the progress of Task Force for Business and Stability operations and the continuing effort to rebuild the Iraqi economy.
“We continue to work in partnership with the [Iraqi] Minister of Industry to reinvigorate the near-idled industrial capacity in Iraq,” said Brinkley. “This is part of a continuing effort to bring businessmen from the international community to Iraq.”
As part of the effort to rekindle the Iraqi economy, the Iraqi Minister of Finance Bayan Jaber announced additional sets of low interest loans totaling $20 million to be distributed amongst factory outlets in need of financial support.
“These will support 24 different factory operations,” said Brinkley. “This is also part of our effort to partner with the government of Iraq to restore industrial operations, to reemploy sizable numbers of people here in Iraq and to restore normalcy to areas of the country where stability exists.”
While the intra-Iraqi economy begins a cycle of creating jobs and industries to restart the economy, international businesses are beginning to show interest in what an industrial Iraq has to offer.
“We continue to work contract negotiations with Western retailers as well as heavier industrial operations in the West,” Brinkley said. “One of the most inspiring locations is a very large textile factory [in Najaf] where 1,800 Iraqis have now returned to work, and the clothing made in that factory is being reviewed by Western retail outlets.”
As factories begin showing signs of success, other factories are being reestablished to provide similar opportunities for the Iraqi public.
“We are working to [restart] as many factories as we can to sell our products to the local and Western markets to guarantee salaries for everyone,” said Hariri.
While revitalizing the Iraqi economy is expected to provide business opportunities, it is also expected to bring Iraq up-to-date with current technology.
“We believe the development of the Iraqi industry in cooperation with international companies will fill the gap in technology from the past 30 years,” said Hariri.
As security improvements in Iraq make industrial opportunities possible, the economy is expected to improve the standard-of-living and return everyday life to normalcy.
(U.S. Army story by Spc. Carl N. Hudson, Combined Press Information Center)
U.S. EMBASSY – BAGHDAD
See Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlNORX006-c