By John Lee.

Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Steel is reportedly considering expansion into Iraq.

Chief Executive Saeed Al Remeithi told The National:

We’re always looking at new markets, one of which we are targeting now is Iraq …

“Iraq is a big growth market for us, and from the logistics point of view it is very big. We have seen right now Iraq is more stabilised than in the past few years and we have already started on the market.

The company, which is part of Senaat, is currently in the middle of a refinancing programme.

More here.

(Source: The National)

By Elena Kornienko.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

A few months ago I was approached by one of my LinkedIn connections, an expat based in Iraq, with an exciting training opportunity for one of the largest oil companies in the region.

Some messages back and forth to clarify details and I am asked to submit a proposal and training programs content. And at this point of time my inner voice of procurement professional with 17 years of buying goods and services for various companies started asking me questions:  “Why you have not received an official enquiry and all correspondence is LinkedIn based? “ – “Well, that’s how the modern world works these days! Social media became integral part of our lives”. My inner voice said: “Ok, fair enough. But why this person did not use corporate e-mail account?” – “Well, it is easier to keep correspondence on a subject in one place, and it will be easier to refer to all discussion details”.

And my inner voice was satisfied with that explanation too. But it kept asking me more questions: “If that is a formal inquiry for services, it have to come using company’s standard, and this company absolutely have templates and even automated procurement system…”, and the next question was “Submission of training materials to a client is always subject to signing “Non-disclosure agreement” where Intellectual Property Rights are clearly defined. So why it does not happen this time?”. And that was the time when I listened to my inner voice and started asking the same questions the potential counterpart. It did not take long to understand that it was a fraud inquiry with a purpose of stealing information which was covered by big and famous name…

It is not a secret that most of International Oil Companies, including the ones which operate in Iraq, have as a part of their contract template schedule “Code of Business Conduct and Ethics” and a failure to comply with all rules is considered as material breach of a contract which leads to further collection of damages or early termination. This contract schedule establishes company’s standards that include business practices and regulatory compliance that applies to all company’s employees.

These standards are expected to be followed by contractors as a part of commitment to execute contracts in trustful and faithful manner. For those of readers who did not come across with such contract articles, here just a few examples of what is typically covered: alcohol and drug policy, insider information trading, bribery, corruption, business records, confidential information, computer and system security, conflict of interest, gifts, engagement with media and information partners. This is typical content of “Code of Business Conduct and Ethics” which is adopted by most of the players in the Oil and Gas industry, however is it enough to make sure that all parties involved are acting in a good faith to all concerned?

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) developed and implemented Corporate Code of Ethics with more focus for procurement professionals. It guides companies on ethical behavior in supply chain and promotes usage of procurement strategies to drive away unethical practices from the supply chain, assists to ensure that procurement decision minimize any negative impact, helps to put ethical policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance and the most important – mandates the education and training of all staff involved in sourcing, contractor selection and management to professional standards.  Great initiative that helps not only companies, but procurement professionals to set and follow rules of ethical procurement. It promotes professional behavior of procurement personnel who have the biggest exposure in a company for potential fraud and corruption.

While some of the companies are more advanced in implementing and following ethics standards in procurement, for others it is a new unknown road. Iraq has its own challenges in procurement and we can all contribute the development of ethics in supply chain by letting our inner voice ask questions even in circumstances when we feel great excitement for fantastic business opportunity.

Elena Kornienko has more than 15 years of professional experience in contracts, procurement and tendering in various roles from demand-identification to contract close-out. She has worked on major international oil and gas projects, including the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 fields in Russia, and Iraq’s West Qurna-2. Now based in Dubai, she provides consultancy services to the oil and gas industry. Elena is a fluent English and Russian speaker, and a graduate of the Moscow State University of Commerce, holding a degree in Economics. She also graduated with distinction from the School of Business Administration at Portland State University and holds a CIPS diploma.

(Picture: Ethics signpost, from 3D-creation/Shutterstock)

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil, Minister of State for Combating Corruption Nicolas Tueni, and their accompanying delegation.

In the meeting, also attended by Kurdistan Regional Government ministers and senior officials, they discussed the political situation in Iraq including the post-election process, and the formation of the new Iraqi government and new Kurdistan Regional Government cabinet.

Minister Bassil thanked the Kurdistan Regional Government for its assistance and support to the Lebanese community. He emphasized the desire of Lebanon to strengthen relations with the Kurdistan Region, especially in the fields of investment, trade, tourism and culture.

Prime Minister Barzani reaffirmed the KRG’s support to Lebanese businessmen and investors. He praised the activities of the Lebanese community in the Kurdistan Region.

The political situation in the wider region was also discussed.

(Source: KRG)

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraq’s ancient pottery culture in the holy city of Najaf is dying out with the increasing demand for more modern products.

Iraqis, who traditionally used clay utensils for storing food and cooking are turning to cheaper plastic products made either elsewhere in Iraq or imported.

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By John Lee.

The Iraqi government has reportedly removed the Fayida customs post between Mosul and Duhok province on Tuesday, following a parliamentary vote that deemed the customs points illegal and ordered their removal.

According to Rudaw, the checkpoint, along with two others established by former Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi between Sulaimani and Kirkuk and Kirkuk and Erbil, were a heavy burden on traders.

It adds that the other two customs points are also awaiting removal.

More here

(Source: Rudaw)

Iraq’s new Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim highlighted the importance of bilateral relations with Iran and said the Arab country cannot cut off its trade ties with the Islamic Republic due to the US sanctions.

Alhakim pointed to Washington’s economic sanctions against Tehran and said, the value of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amount to $12 billion, the Arabic-language Al-Manar TV reported.

“We are not in a situation that we would be able to stop our trade exchanges with Iran,” the Iraqi top diplomat noted.

Earlier, Luqman al-Fili, the official spokesman for Iraqi President Barham Salih, had said that the US sanctions against Iran are part of regional tensions.

It is necessary that the citizens of the region are not affected by the embargoes, Fili said, adding that Baghdad is ready to cooperate to decrease the tensions.

The second batch of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran took effect on November 5.

Iran and Iraq enjoy cordial political, security and cultural ties but due to some internal and regional problems including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorism in Iraq, they have not been able to increase their trade volume.

Iran’s main exports to the neighboring country include agro products, foodstuff and fruits such as watermelon, tomato and cucumber, which account for 37% of the total exports.

Other Iranian exports to Iraq include canned food, tomato paste, chicken, egg, meat, construction materials (mainly rebar, tiles and ceramics), steel and evaporative cooler.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq Baroness Emma Harriet Nicholson, UK Ambassador to Iraq Jon Wilks, and UK Consul-General to the Kurdistan Region Martyn Warr.

Baroness Nicholson welcomed the progress made in the dialogue between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad to settle outstanding issues.

She also expressed her country’s desire to encourage British investors to invest in the Kurdistan Region, contribute to economic development of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, and share expertise in modernizing various sectors.

Prime Minister Barzani thanked the United Kingdom for its humanitarian and military assistance to the Kurdistan Region.

He highlighted the relations between Kurdistan and Baghdad, and affirmed that the KRG supports the new Iraqi Prime Minister, Mr. Adil Abdul Mahdi in restoring security and political stability of Iraq and developing its economy.

(Source: KRG)

By  for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

Putin eyes visit to Baghdad amid growing Russian-Iraqi contacts

Lately, official Russian-Iraqi contacts have been intensifying noticeably.

On Nov. 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Iraqi President Barham Salih met behind closed doors within the agenda of the Mediterranean Dialogue in Rome. On Nov. 20-21, Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian deputy foreign minister and special presidential envoy for the Middle East and North Africa, met all of Iraq’s key decision-makers when he was in Baghdad. The sides agreed to further develop relations and make efforts to hold a meeting on the highest level.

Russian officials’ increased contacts with their Iraqi counterparts have become a virtual necessity as a result of the changes in Iraq’s domestic politics brought about by the latest electoral cycle. The number, level, and scale of the meetings are indeed exceptional, and all the more so considering the constant foreign trips Iraqi politicians themselves make.

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Gas exports from Iran to Iraq have reportedly been interrupted as authorities in Iran repair pipeline damage caused during a recent earthquake.

The gas is used for electricity generation, with the cut reducing available power by 2,500 megawatts (MW).

Supplies are expected to be restored over the coming days.

(Sources: Iraq Oil Report, Reuters)

(Picture: Iran-Iraq gas pipeline during construction. Picture credit: Shana)

By John Lee.

Iraq has fallen one place in this year’s Legatum Institute Prosperity Index, ranking in 143rd place out of the 149 countries measured.

The index ranks countries according to its nine pillars of prosperity: Economic Quality, Business Environment, Governance, Personal Freedom, Social Capital, Safety and Security, Education, Health and Natural Environment.

Despite Iraq’s dismal performance, the report found some areas of improvement:

“Iraq … now ranks 80th for its level of democracy, up from 145th in 2008. It has improved from 147th to 138th in the overall Governance rankings in the same time period.”

The top three positions were unchanged from last year, with Norway scoring highest, followed by New Zealand and Finland.

The least prosperous country is Afghanistan, followed by the Central African Republic and Yemen.

(Source: Legatum Institute)