23:18 GMT +316 October 2019
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    People gather outside the Shiite shrine of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, in Baghdad’s northern district of Kadhimiya on January 3, 2016

    Iraq Should Develop ‘Common Economic Space’ in Future - Senior Advisor

    © AFP 2019 / SABAH ARAR
    Middle East
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    Iraq needs to develop a common economic space regardless of future political systems to achieve prosperity and avoid market balkanization, Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister Financial Advisor James Parks told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Michael Hughes, Liudmila Chernova — Parks said that a shared market is "natural" for Iraqis — "be they Kurds, be they Shia, be they Sunni, be they from Basra or from Irbil." He noted that the common economic space needs to be developed to reap the scale and diversity of larger markets while avoiding balkanization.

    Parks also outlined his views on economic development of the territorial entities within Iraq.The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) wants to attract investors to develop its electricity sector, which has the capacity to generate and sell power to the entire country, he pointed out.

    "There’s some really interesting investment projects that we’d like to develop including this electricity sector, right, where the potential to sell power from Kurdistan, power that’s generated based on gas, to the rest of Iraq, is real… and I think would be very profitable business," Parks said on Thursday.

    Developing Kurdistan’s power sector, Parks noted, should be attractive to any investors, especially those already involved in the oil and gas business in the region.

    Opportunities exist in Kurdistan, he explained, to convert disassociate gas from oil production and pump it through pipelines to sell to power plants.

    In the wake of the government of Iraq taking control of major cities and roadways, Iraqi Kurdistan also sees a revival of tourist sector, Parks said. He explained that Baghdadis are heading to Kurdistan by the busload, because of the regions cooler climate, mountains and security.

    "The level [of tourism] right now is… suppressed because of the conflicts in the region, but you can start to see it reemerge."

    On Thursday, Assistant US Trade Representative for South Asia Michael Delaney said many US companies view Iraqi Kurdistan as a base for doing business throughout Iraq during an economic forum in Washington, DC.


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