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Economy News - Baghdad
It seems that the competition between the United States and China over the Middle East in the commercial fields will have a negative impact on these countries, including Iraq, whose trade relations with China expanded to exceed $40 billion in 2021. Chinese companies are present in Iraq with large investments in the oil, electricity, construction and entertainment sectors in the country. Various Iraqi cities, where the spread of Chinese labor is remarkable in cities such as Baghdad, Basra and Erbil.
Perhaps the increase in these investments and the justifications for protecting Chinese interests raised American fears of establishing Chinese bases in the Middle East, including Iraq, which raised the alarm in the US Department of Defense of the consequences of this step. The Pentagon issued a report warning the countries of the region, especially Iraq, against dealing with the Chinese government on a large scale, and at the same time warned the Chinese government against provoking the United States in the Middle East.
The report indicated that China escalated its dealings with the countries of the Middle East, especially Iraq, during the past year 2021, which continued, this year, and that Beijing seeks to expand its base of influence through economic relations that ultimately aims to create Chinese military headquarters within the regions of the Middle East in general, And Iraq in particular, and the report warns "countries of the region, especially Iraq" against continuing to deal with the Chinese government, announcing that President Joe Biden's administration does not call on those countries to sever their diplomatic relations with China, according to what US Undersecretary of Defense for Political Affairs Colin Kahl explained during a statement to NET Middle East Monitor.
The US official confirmed that President Biden's administration is closely monitoring the dealings of countries in the region, especially Iraq, with China, explaining that China's intentions in the region target American interests, and this is what we cannot allow to happen, he said. He warned both Iraq and the countries of the region against "harming US interests by dealing on a large scale with China."
Nabil Al-Marsoumi, professor of economics at the University of Basra, said that there are American fears of increasing Chinese influence in Iraq after increasing the volume of trade exchange with Iraq to $40 billion. Al-Marsoumi said, "There is a trade war between China and the United States from the time of Donald Trump to today, because the United States has imposed customs duties on a large number of Chinese goods to protect American goods for fear of Chinese goods invading American markets."
He added that Iraq is one of the most important economic countries in the Middle East, and it is a focus of attention by China because it is the region in which American influence can be undermined, indicating that Iraq is one of the promising countries in energy production, and therefore China has entered strongly in this field by operating oil fields. An Iraqi oil giant, West Qurna, Halfawiya, Al-Ahdab and Nissan, and the conclusion of other contracts such as the Hoveyza and Mansouriya gas fields and the strategic Al-Faw refinery.
Al-Marsoumi explained that China does not only invest in the oil sector, but also in the gas sector through secondary contracting, so there is a large presence of China in Iraq, indicating that expectations estimate the volume of trade exchange between Iraq and China to reach 40 billion dollars, especially since Iraq is the third oil-exporting country to China after Russia and Saudi Arabia, as well as Iraq importing large goods from China.
Baghdad fears the results
Al-Marsoumi added that China has large investments in Iraq in the field of construction, energy and infrastructure, and there is fear of the expansion of Chinese influence in Iraq, especially in the field of energy, since Beijing buys the share of any foreign oil company that exits the oil market, and its companies have expressed their willingness to buy the share of "Exxon Mobil". When it was offered for sale, pointing out that the Iraqi government rejected the Chinese offer for fear of expanding China's influence more and for fear of the reluctance of Western companies to come to Iraq, as well as to avoid arousing fear of the United States, which considers Iraq a key player, especially in light of its location linking the continent of Asia and Europe. .
He pointed out that China is ready to pay money to some parties, unlike Western companies that cannot operate away from transparency and in the absence of stability, stressing that there is a major Chinese incursion that raises the concerns of the United States and Westerners because the Chinese are the largest importing country of oil and import from 10 to 11 million barrels, and they care In Iraq because it can provide them with great resources in addition to the huge profits in the infrastructure sector.
The head of the Iraq Center for Strategic Studies, Ghazi Faisal, saw the US interest in Iraq as a market in which there are mineral resources worth $20 trillion, pointing out, at the same time, that Washington is trying to return part of the bill for the war on Iraq. Faisal said, "There is a kind of commercial competition between the United States and China over the global markets for the export of goods, over the sources of primary resources, and over energy. It has giant investments in the United States, and the latter also has financial assets and giant companies operating in China.
Faisal added that there is intense competition for the markets, and it is not possible to go to large and diversified production without the presence of stable markets, and the Middle East is a vital strategic market for investment, and an important market for European and Western commodities, pointing out that China is fierce competition, but it is poor in mineral resources, as it imports all Something from minerals, oil and gas, and it needs 10 million barrels of oil per day, and it is trying to take over the Iraqi market.
He added that China is a competitor to American and European commodities and is interested in the market and investment in Iraq, the Middle East and the Arab Gulf, especially Iraq, in which the value of heavy and light minerals in oil, gas, wealth and other heavy minerals is estimated at nearly $20 trillion, pointing out that minerals are a tremendous wealth for the United States. Which spent three trillion dollars in Iraq as a result of its invasion of the country and wants to recover the trillions it spent in commercial and economic interests.
Threat to American interests
Faisal explained that the Chinese commercial and economic incursion into Iraq constitutes a threat to US interests in the Middle East and the Arab Gulf, because China is currently establishing military bases in Africa to guarantee its interests in terms of investment, and it also relies on military strategy to guarantee its economic and commercial interests and guarantee the security of companies operating in those countries. States, especially since it is the second economy in the world. Faisal did not rule out that the competition between Beijing and Washington would turn into a conflict, or that China would go to publish rules after agreeing with the competent governments in a number of Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq, in order to protect its interests.
The director of the Republican Center for Strategic and Security Studies, Moataz Mohie Abdel Hamid, did not rule out the existence of Chinese intentions to establish a military base in the Middle East region to protect its interests in the region. "China has great economic interests in Iraq, as it imports more than one million barrels per day of crude oil, in addition to establishing banking partnerships with it," he said, adding that it has projects in Iraq to restore infrastructure and future projects to establish a railway extending from China and then Iran, Iraq and Syria. , which is heavily oriented towards the Middle East.
Abdel Hamid also did not rule out the existence of a Chinese tendency to establish a foothold for him in the Middle East to protect Beijing's interests in the region, including Iraq, and pointed out that the government of Muhammad Shia al-Sudani intends to build strategic relations with many countries, including China and Russia, and not rely solely on the United States for Developing the country's infrastructure.
Quoted from The Independent Arabia
Added 12/06/2022 - 3:04 PM
Updated 12/06/2022 - 3:06 PM
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