Iraq Joining China’s Belt & Road Initiative

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Adel Abdel Mahdi, the Iraqi Prime Minister, has stated in Beijing on a State Visit to China that the country will be joining China’s Belt & Road Initiative. “Iraq has gone through war and civil strife and is grateful to China for its valuable support. Iraq is willing to work together in the ‘One Belt, One Road’ framework.” Mahdi stated. China’s President Xi said that the two countries would cooperate on oil and infrastructure projects.

“China would like, from a new starting point together with Iraq, to push forward the China-Iraq strategic partnership.” said Xi.

2018 bilateral trade was more than US$30 billion. Beijing is Baghdad’s biggest trade partner, while Iraq is China’s second-biggest oil supplier. China has already made Belt and Road agreements with a number of other Middle Eastern nations, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

While Iraq seeks to benefit from China’s economic fortitude and crucial reconstruction financing for infrastructure, such investments enable Beijing to increase its influence in the Middle East and beyond while securing access to Iraq’s oil fields.

Chinese investment has long been Iraq’s goal and that Baghdad was hoping to secure greater Chinese ties. Iraqi President Barham Salih said back in August that “Iraq is willing to continuously strengthen exchanges at all levels, deepen the strategic integration of each other’s development strategies, enhance strategic cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and promote the new strategic partnership between Iraq and China.”

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Silk Road Development Weekly is compiled each week by Chris Devonshire-Ellis, Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Eurasia and assists foreign investors into the region. For strategic advisory and business intelligence issues please contact the firm at or visit


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