The United States of America and the Republic of Iraq are committed to developing and enhancing our enduring partnership based on shared interests that will continue to expand in the coming years. As we maintain our robust security partnership to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS, we are reinvigorating our political and economic relationship to support Iraq’s economy to meet the challenges of the 21st century and address Iraq’s reconstruction needs. We will continue to expand our ties to build a multi-dimensional relationship through trade, education, cultural exchange and preservation, law enforcement, environmental protection, energy, and other vital areas.
In 2008, our nations signed the Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA), affirming both sides’ desire to forge lasting bonds of cooperation and friendship. The SFA today serves as the foundation on which we are building a strong and mutually beneficial relationship. Today, we gather again in Baghdad to reaffirm our commitment to this important partnership and to the principles of cooperation, sovereignty, and mutual respect expressed in the SFA.
Deputy Foreign Minister Nizar Khairullah and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan convened the fifth meeting of the SFA Higher Coordinating Committee on January 28 in Baghdad. Together, they reaffirmed the significant progress we have made under the SFA thus far and laid the foundation for future collaboration, particularly in the areas of political and diplomatic cooperation, and trade and finance cooperation.
Political and Diplomatic Cooperation
The United States is committed to supporting the Republic of Iraq as it deepens and improves its political and economic ties with regional allies, including the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The United States also reaffirms its desire to deepen cooperation on areas of mutual benefit in international fora. Our governments have agreed to establish a subcommittee focused on simplifying visa and residency permit procedures in Iraq.
Trade and Finance Cooperation
The United States and Iraq will reinvigorate the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement to create meaningful improvements to Iraq’s investment climate and attract much-needed investment for reconstruction projects across Iraq. The United States is also committed to supporting Iraq’s continued participation in the IMF program, to ensure financial stability and promote economic reform. Iraq affirms that it is working on accession to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958) to further build investors’ trust in the Government of Iraq’s ability and willingness to provide a formal mechanism for resolving commercial disputes. Furthermore, our governments agree to develop a working group to address longstanding commercial disputes in order to strengthen bilateral economic relations and signal to American companies that Iraq is open for business.