15 Dec 2011

US investment sought in Iraq

11:19 am on 15 December 2011

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq has called on American business leaders to invest in his country to help it recover from years of war. The last US troops are preparing to pull out of Iraq.

In a speech in Washington, he said security has improved and it is now corporations rather than army generals at the forefront of Iraq's future.

The BBC reports the United States currently accounts for slightly more than a tenth of total foreign investment in Iraq.

Mr Maliki told potential investors at the US Chamber of Commerce that as well as oil, there were many other sectors which could be of interest, including healthcare, telecommunications, construction and financial services.

He said the possibilities for US firms were "limitless" and that they were best-placed to help Iraq diversify its economy.

''All sectors of the economy are there, open for business for American business,'' he said.

But the BBC reports there are lingering concerns in the US about security and about confusing regulation of key sectors in Iraq.