Doing business

Current business situation

Exporters should be aware that Australia maintains United Nations Security Council sanctions in respect to Iraq. These sanctions require Australian organisations and individuals to comply with a range of measures and in general, also apply extraterritorially to Australian nationals overseas.

Before the ongoing security turmoil, the business environment, lacking transparency and efficiency, had improved only marginally. The labour market, which had already suffered from state interference and control, has been severely affected by the devastating conflicts. The government uses oil revenues to subsidise basic goods and services and maintains tight price controls on food and medicine.

Business culture

If you are proposing to meet with Iraqi businessmen it is normal for discussions to occur over lunch or dinner. You should initiate the invitation as an indication of your interest in developing business relations.

It is helpful to know a few simple Arabic words and phrases such as:

  • Marhaba salam alekom - hello
  • Shukran - thank you
  • Men fadlak - please
  • Keif Halac - how are you.

Setting up in Market

Setting up a business in Iraq involves several steps and needs to be undertaken by an authorised lawyer. The following steps provide a guide to establishing a Private Limited Liability Company. Please ensure you consult a lawyer as requirements can change quickly.

  1. Search for a company name; obtain a name reservation letter from the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce.
  2. Hire a lawyer to draft articles of association.
  3. Deposit the initial capital at a commercial bank and obtain a confirmation receipt.
  4. File registration at the Commercial Registry.
  5. Advertise an incorporation notice in the newspaper.
  6. Make a company seal.
  7. Obtain a registration certificate.
  8. Report to the tax authority to establish a tax registration.
  9. Legalise the accounting books.
  10. Register employees for social security.
  11. Apply for a trade license.

Austrade can help by providing market analysis and research:

  • strategic advice and realistic market intelligence
  • market risk analysis
  • coaching on the process of supply to the World Bank, UN agencies and the US contracting office.

In-market support:

  • excellent links with key Iraqi stakeholders, government and ministries
  • experienced advisory with key local contacts
  • identify the right potential partner/agent
  • keep you updated with leads and opportunities
  • network you with active regional players in Iraq
  • qualify any local contact
  • suggest secure method of payments and commercial conditions.

Banking and finance

The Iraq Ministry of Finance approves budgets, manages debt and establishes economic policy. It pays Iraq's 1.8 million pensioners and 1.4 million state employees and collects taxes and customs revenues. The banking system in Iraq has three different structures: central, state-owned and private.

Links and resources

Government, business and trade

Baghdad Business Centre
Central Bank of Iraq
Ministry of Oil
Trade Bank of Iraq

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.