Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Should You Do Business in Iraq?

Yes, you should consider it, and here's why:

1. Iraq has roughly 30 million people. It's not a huge market, but they need everything.

2. The culture of business is there, and it's strong. Prior to the disastrous Iran-Iraq war (yes, Iraq's troubles actually precede the Bush 43 administration), Iraq led the world in date exports, the manufacturing sector was robust, and the medical system was the envy of the Middle East.

3. While commercial code lags most developing countries, the Council of Representatives addresses the issue every year. Don't put both feet in Iraq, but as business law develops, be ready to move.

4. Physical security is improving. I don't recommend a vacation in Baghdad yet, but it's getting better. The elections went off with a level of violence that was below most expectations. There are security options, and Iraqis can move very freely (except for the occasional security checkpoint).

5. There is money in Iraq. Some of it is waiting patiently on the sidelines -- wealthy Iraqis in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Europe, and the US are waiting for the right time to re-enter the Iraqi market. When the time is right, there will be a massive influx of cash.

Of course, there is a list just as long for why you shouldn't do business in Iraq, and most of that list would deal with corruption and security. Still, Iraq is an interesting market, and a beautiful country that should be a treasure for the world to visit and enjoy. I believe that someday it will be.

What do you think? Are you curious about Iraq? Let me know.

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