Iraqi president drums up U.S. business

Nouri al Maliki will meet with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to sign hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new contracts. al Maliki spoke with President Obama on Dec. 12, 2011.

Steve Chiotakis: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will give a big speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today. He's going to be pitching Iraq as a good place to do business. But is he right?

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer takes a look.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Iraq is expected to spend $100 billion repairing its creaking infrastructure, hiring construction companies and engineers.

Lionel Johnson is the Chamber of Commerce's Middle East expert.

Lionel Johnson: They need homes. They need power generation. They need to have roads and bridges.

Johnson says Iraq has a growing middle class. He expects eventually, they'll start wanting iPhones and Pepsi. The Chamber has been holding workshops on Iraq around the country.

Pharmacist Jim Seymour went to one in the Seattle area.

Jim Seymour: We're still in the thinking stage.

There is certainly a lot to think about in Iraq: security; bureaucracy; paperwork. Still, Seymour knows his wrinkle creams would sell there.

Seymour: Any woman that's in their middle ages would want these products. And if they had a choice, they would certainly go after them.

Other countries are already going after Iraqi consumers. France, which opposed the Iraq war, has more investments there than the U.S.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall-Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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