Factory to Make Garments for
U.S., International Retailers
Gerry J. Gilmore
factory in Najaf, Iraq, will start supplying clothes to U.S.
and international retailers in a few months, a senior
U.S. official said in Baghdad.
facility is “one of
the most state-of-the-art clothing factories I’ve seen,” Paul A.
Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense for business transformation, told
reporters at a Baghdad news conference. “It
will be providing garments to American and international retail beginning this
factory is but one of several economic success stories occurring
across Iraq today, said Brinkley, who has been busy showing
off the country’s promising economic potential to U.S.
and foreign business representatives since December.
also highlighted a Ramadi ceramics factory that’s in
the process of having its electricity restored. That facility
once employed 650 Iraqis and many of its former employees are “coming
back to work there,” he said.
also plans to establish communications call centers in northern
Iraq’s Kurdish region, which could “create an eventual
pan-Arab customer-service capability similar to that which
India provides the international community,” Brinkley
ministers of finance and industry are heavily involved in efforts
to resuscitate Iraq’s economy “to create a bright,
prosperous economic future for the people of Iraq,” Brinkley
said. This endeavor, he pointed out, includes the reestablishment
of privately owned businesses as well as getting moribund state-owned
industries back onto their feet.
effort extends to the private-sector businesses here, many
of which, prior to 2003, sold their goods and services to the
state-owned companies,” Brinkley said.
reporter quizzed Brinkley about restarting Iraq’s cement
industry, noting that lack of electricity has been a problem.
Brinkley acknowledged there’s been a challenge in restoring
dependable electrical power to mineral processing and cement
mineral-processing industries, including cement, are huge consumers
of electricity,” Brinkley pointed out, noting Iraq’s “extremely
distressed” electrical grid needs an overhaul. Cement
factories are especially susceptible to problems caused by
a non-dependable power supply, he said. “If the electricity
goes off, then you’ve got people with chisels chiseling
cement out of huge machinery.”
For the time
being, engineers are working around such issues by installing
power generators at factories that use less electricity, Brinkley
said. However, he acknowledged, such a solution wouldn’t
work at mineral-processing and cement factories that require
large amounts of electrical wattage.
of Iraq’s electrical grid “requires ongoing investment
and collaboration between the ministries here, petroleum and
electricity, in addition to partnerships that are ongoing in
the construction efforts,” Brinkley explained. Significant
power-generation projects are slated to go online this year
as part of ongoing efforts to provide more electricity to Iraq’s
people and businesses.
the ceramics factory in Ramadi had been idled because of lack
of electricity, Brinkley said. However, “we’ve
now got the electricity restored and those people (will) go
back to work.”
food, Brinkley noted “produce is pouring into Iraq from
outside of Iraq.” Yet, Iraq’s agricultural potential
should enable it to become “the bread basket of the Middle
East,” he pointed out. Therefore, he said, much discussion
is ongoing between U.S. and Iraqi officials to reestablish
Iraq’s agricultural economy.
said his travels across Iraq have made him realize that Iraqis
want a better life for themselves and their children. Iraqi
aspirations and hopes for the future include access to economic
prosperity, he said.
believe we can create that prosperity, and we should create
that prosperity in every place where stability takes hold,” Brinkley
said. “And, this is underpinning the strategy of General
(David H.) Petraeus and of the U.S. government to follow these
areas where we reestablish stability with immediate economic
uplift that creates a sense of hope where hope hasn’t