Bremer Enacts New Investment Law For

Bremer enacts new Investment Law for Iraq

ash-Sharq al-Awsat: Civil administrator Paul Bremer signed Law Number 64 on Sunday, altering the Iraqi law of corporations (which had been enacted in 1997), changing the legal climate for commercial enterprises in Iraq. The new law removes obstacles that had prevented the formation of Iraqi commercial institutions, permits capital investments in current Iraqi companies, and in general creates the precondtions for a free economy. The new law complements Law 39, which concerns foreign investment in Iraq, which promised that foreign investors would be treated equally with Iraqi ones.

Reports suggest that the US will attempt to keep its 64 laws (there will be more), which have been enacted by fiat by a foreign occupier, in effect after the supposed transfer of sovereignty to some sort of Iraqi government on June 30. The elected Iraqi government which will come in in January 2005 would be in a position to alter these American-imposed laws, and I suspect that they will. And, just because the political atmosphere is so transitory and unsettled, it seems a little unlikely that many corporations will be able to take advantage of Mr. Bremer’s royal decree.

The Hague Regulations of 1907, governing military occupations, strictly forbid the occupying power from making significant changes in local law. But since the Iraq war and everything that followed it was illegal, I suppose that cow was out of the barn long ago. What is tragic is that apparently the return of sovereignty was delayed for a full year precisely so that laissez faire economics could be imposed on the country.

It is incredible that this sort of thing appears not to be reported in the Western press.