Thomas Nides
Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources
Washington, DC
November 1, 2011

On behalf of the American people, I would like to welcome you to the USA Pavilion at the 38th Baghdad International Trade Fair. The United States is proud to return to the trade fair for the first time in more than 20 years. The people of Iraq and the people of the United States share an interest in expanding economic opportunities for Iraqis and for everyone in the region. Together, through this event and many others, we’re sending the message to the world that Iraq is open for business. It’s time for the world to see Iraq as a country with an educated and diverse population and one full of opportunities to develop mutually beneficial economic partnerships.

As a former businessman, I understand the essential role that businesses play in building economies and, more importantly, in rebuilding lives. The American businesses at this trade fair –and new businesses created by Iraqi entrepreneurs like yourselves–will create jobs, provide livelihoods, and give hope to millions of Iraqis.

Next year, the United States and Iraq will enter a new chapter in our relationship, but America’s commitment to the people of Iraq and their future will remain unchanged. In fact, we recently opened Consulates in Irbil and Basra, and a diplomatic presence Kirkuk, expanding our network of diplomats and experts throughout Iraq. We work closely with our Iraqi counterparts to support commercial activity in every province in Iraq. We are focused on encouraging American businesses to look at opportunities in Iraq and we hope that you’ll consider doing business with the American companies represented here. American companies create cutting edge technology, and are recognized world- wide for offering high reliability. Our companies’ presence here at the Baghdad Trade Fair demonstrates significant interest in the automotive, education, construction, and IT sectors, among others.

I’m excited about what is possible in Iraq and I’m very optimistic about Iraq’s future. Tough decisions lie ahead, and we’ll certainly face challenges. Our partnership is strong; our people are dedicated; and our business communities are exploring opportunities. By working together, I’m confident that we’ll succeed in building a better future for Iraq, which will serve as a beacon of success in the region.

Thank you all for taking the time to explore U.S. products and services. We look forward to helping Iraq, as it progresses towards a bright and successful future.