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  • Monday, 12 June 2023

ُThe Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat and the Iraqi Minister of Trade, Chair the Preparatory Meetings at the Ministerial Level for the 2nd Egyptian-Iraqi joint committee Session

● Enhancing bilateral cooperation relations to improve the economic, trade and investment fields and translating joint agreements into projects and on-ground programs.

● The necessity of facilitating trade in a way that meets the aspirations and reflects the size of the Egyptian and Iraqi economies.

● Al-Mashat emphasized the expected role of Egyptian companies in participating in projects for the reconstruction of Iraq and the development of infrastructure.

● The convening of the Egyptian-Iraqi Business Forum pushes for promising partnerships that serve the interests of the two countries.

● Iraqi Minister of Trade: The Iraqi government is keen to accelerate the pace of enhancing joint cooperation, and the Iraqi market is a promising one.

Yesterday, Monday, the Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat and Iraqi Minister of Trade H.E. Dr. Atheer Al-Ghurairy chaired the preparatory meetings at the ministerial level for the second session of the Egyptian-Iraqi joint committee, held from June 10 to 13.

This was following the conclusion of the preparatory meetings at the expert level between the two countries, with the participation of representatives of more than 40 ministries, authorities and national destinations, along with the Iraqi delegation. During the preparatory meeting at the ministerial level, final discussions were held, and the mutual cooperation documents were agreed upon to advance development efforts in the two countries, before signing them during the meeting of the Joint Higher Committee headed by Prime Ministers of the two countries.

During the meeting, the details of all the documents to be signed during the meeting of the Supreme Committee, and the challenges that may prevent the promotion of joint cooperation were discussed along with ways to overcome them, in a way that enhances economic integration between the two countries and achieves maximum benefit from competitive advantages; which would in turn reflect in the standard of living of the citizens of both countries and enhance common prosperity.

At the outset of her speech during the ministerial meeting, Al-Mashat welcomed the Iraqi Minister of Trade and the delegation participating in the committee's meetings saying that H.E. looks forward to discussions that would result in strengthening joint relations with the brotherly country in a way that pushes joint cooperation to broader horizons and meets aspirations.

H.E. stated that the Egyptian-Iraqi Higher Committee constitutes the main umbrella that regulates the bilateral relations between Egypt and Iraq, noting that the two sides aim to improve cooperation relations to achieve strategic integration and focus on deepening cooperation in the economics, trade and investment fields and translating what was approved during the three presidential triangular summits; Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. The projects approved were to serve the interests of the three countries, as well as the necessity of translating the cooperation documents signed in the first session into realistic measures that are reflected in increasing cooperation between the two countries.

Al-Mashat explained that the diverse participation of experts and senior officials from both sides in the committee's meetings reflects the common interest in developing bilateral cooperation. In this regard, H.E. applauded the efforts made by experts and technical committees from both sides in preparing the committee and thanked the Iraqi side for the continuous follow-up of the success of the committee meeting in its second session.

H.E. stressed the importance of moving forward in benefiting from the various opportunities available for cooperation between the two countries, the need to facilitate trade and the flow of goods, and enhance cooperation in various fields that witness mutual interest from both sides. The cooperation between the countries is expected to increase the volume of joint cooperation in a way that equates the size of the economy of the two countries and the volume of trade exchange between the two countries. Said volume amounts to $147 million, does not currently reflect the true size of the economy and confirms the need for more joint action to increase the level of trade exchange. H.E. also stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation in the field of energy, which is a vital element for achieving the desired development.

Moreover, Al-Mashat referred to the expected role of Egyptian companies at the government and private levels to participate in the reconstruction projects of Iraq and the implementation of all infrastructure projects based on their accumulated experience in this field, to transfer them to Iraq within the framework of reconstruction plans, pointing out that the convening of the business forum on the sidelines of the committee - with the participation of Egyptian and Iraqi businessmen - represents a driving force for drawing up detailed visions to enter into trade and investment partnerships that serve the interests of both countries.

In a related context, Al-Mashat reviewed the measures taken by the Government of Egypt  to take into account the environmental dimension in the implementation of projects and sustainable management of natural resources, the implementation of waste management projects, the expansion of water treatment plants projects, as well as the implementation of clean energy projects, on top of which is the Benban solar energy complex in Aswan, and the adoption of financial policies that stimulate environment-friendly enterprises, and most notably the launch of the Nexus for Water, Food and Energy platform, the NWFE program, to enhance financing and investment for various climate projects, within the framework of Egypt’s success in chairing COP27, noting keenness to exchange experiences in the field of international cooperation and development financing. During the past year, Egypt organized the Egypt-ICF, which came out with important recommendations to enhance multilateral cooperation and South-South cooperation.

For his part, Al-Ghurairy affirmed the keenness of the State of Iraq and the current government to move forward at the fastest pace in strengthening joint cooperation with Egypt, saying, "I have certainty and declare that the current stage is completely different from the previous stage and that there are many promising projects and opportunities for joint cooperation between the Egyptian and Iraqi economies.”

Al-Ghurairy stated that the Iraqi market is promising and large, and there is a need for many projects, industries and commodities that will be the subject of cooperation and joint discussions with the Egyptian side, through comprehensive partnerships, stressing that cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries will serve as a motive towards strengthening joint cooperation to advance development efforts.

The second session follows the successful convening of the first session, which was held in October 2020, the first in nearly 30 years, and witnessed the signing of 15 joint cooperation documents in the fields of planning, investment, stock exchange, maritime transport, roads and bridges, water resources, irrigation, housing, environment, justice, health, anti-dumping, consumer protection, and the Federation of Industries and Cooperation. It also witnessed the holding of an economic and commercial forum with the participation of the heads of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, the private sector and the concerned authorities from both sides. It is worth noting that the agreement to establish the Egyptian-Iraqi Joint Higher Committee was signed in July 1988, and represents an important mechanism of economic cooperation between the two countries to coordinate joint cooperation frameworks in all fields.

The Ministry of International Cooperation supervises 68 committees between the Arab Republic of Egypt and countries from different continents of the world, including 8 Asian committees, 30 European committees, 14 committees with Arab countries, 9 African committees, and 7 committees with Latin American countries.