Iraq drops foreign ownership plans
September 25, 2003
Iraq's Governing Council has backed off from a pledge by its finance minister to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership in most economic sectors here, saying his comments were not "official."
A statement issued by the US-installed council distanced it from a key part of a sweeping economic package presented by interim Finance Minister Kamel al-Kilani at the International Monetary Fund meeting in Dubai on Sunday.
The text said only the council president could announce policy, "and the statements attributed to the (finance) minister about the law of investment cannot be considered official."
The minister's announcement that Iraq would be open to 100-per cent foreign ownership in all sectors except oil had sparked criticism in Iraqi business circles.
The council statement said that "after studying the statements attributed to the finance minister and the reaction," the body would empanel a committee of experts to study the investment question and its impact.
It promised to come up with a "precise, scientific version that will guarantee the rights of the Iraqi people and will serve the high interests of the country."
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