Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi will head to China at the end of March in an effort to encourage Beijing to invest in construction projects in war-ravaged Iraq in return for oil sales.
Abdul-Mahdi will head a ministerial and advisory delegation, the largest of its kind since he took office last year, sources have said, and will focus on economic issues.
In a statement to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, a senior official in the Secretariat General of the Council of Ministers, said: “The visit will be a declaration to launch a new phase of economic, trade and investment relations with China.”
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, predicted “the conclusion of eight huge agreements concerning projects in housing and infrastructure, especially in the destroyed cities, and renovation of Iraq’s factories which stopped working in 2003, as well as the scheduling of debts owed by Iraq to China.” The debts amount to more than $1 billion, the source added.
“If the visit is successful and the agreements are officially approved,” the source explained, “it will be the most important international partnership agreement signed by Iraq for many years, especially with regard to the entry of Chinese companies to Iraq, which will ensure its security and facilitate its work.”
In May, China’s Ambassador to Baghdad, Zhang Tao, said the trade exchange between the two countries amounted to $30 billion in 2018 and has been increasing by ten percent annually.
Middle East Monitor