The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to include new projects in Iraq, which have been banned due to the worsening situation in Iraq since ISIL captured Mosul in 2014, in the list of cases to be considered for exceptional permission for use of passports.
Since ISIL seized Mosul in June 2014, the Passport Policy Deliberation Committee has so far suspended permission for use of passports regarding new projects in Iraq except for projects which were underway at the time.
With the Foreign Ministry’s latest decision, the Passport Policy Deliberation Committee will make a final decision on whether to allow exceptional use of passports by conducting a comprehensive review of safety measures and project feasibility. Projects to be considered are those on which the Iraqi Foreign Ministry officially requested cooperation among new projects in safe areas where Korean companies are already doing business, such as Sulaymaniyah, Bismayah and Basra.
As the security situation is improving amid signs of progress in Iraqi government forces’ efforts to recapture Mosul, a number of Korean companies are consulting on projects in Iraq and the number of applications for exceptional permission for use of passports has increased.
In the eighth meeting of the ROK-Iraq Joint Committee, held in Iraq in March this year, the governments of the ROK and Iraq resumed cooperation in a range of economic and social sectors, including industry, healthcare and finance, and discussed ways for Korean companies to actively participate in projects in Iraq to rebuild the country after the war.
The Foreign Ministry also held an interagency meeting on April 6 to discuss the validity and safety of Korean companies’ inroads into the Iraqi market. Most participants agreed that doing business in Iraq needs to be allowed after considering the safety of Koreans above all else.
The Foreign Ministry’s decision to include new projects in Iraq in the list of cases to be considered for exceptional permission for use of passports is expected to help more Korean companies participate in projects in Iraq, aimed at rebuilding the country after the war and establishing infrastructure.