BAGHDAD, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. and Iraqi officials met in Baghdad to outline the ongoing commitment to create a market economy in Iraq in a dialogue on economic cooperation.
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih met with Reuben Jeffery III, the undersecretary of economic, business, and agricultural affairs, and David McCormick, the treasury undersecretary for international affairs.
The meeting focused on the commitment to establish a healthy market economy in Iraq following pleas from Iraqi ministers along that front, a release by the U.S. Embassy in Iraq said.
The U.S. representatives praised the work of the Iraqi government, saying it made great strides in controlling the rate of inflation and successfully concluded agreements with the International Monetary Fund in 2007.
Officials with the European Union also concluded the fourth round of trade negotiations with Iraq, reports indicated Wednesday.
"The agreement comes as part of the EU's plan to support and assist Iraq in establishing development and political stability and its efforts towards reconstruction, and to achieve an EU-Iraq economic fusion," an EU statement read.
The U.S. delegation commended the submission of the 2008 Iraqi government budget to the Iraqi Justice Department for ratification and urged the Iraqi ministers to implement a transparent financial management system.
The Iraqi officials also recognized the commitment by the U.S. government to help revitalize Iraq's agricultural sector.
U.S. reconstruction managers in Iraq, for example, established agricultural banks in Ramadi to provide small-scale loans to bring the sector forward in the western provinces.
Both sides agreed to further meetings in spring 2009.