No wonder he left Iraq without stopping to change his boots:
A sampling of the most important orders demonstrates the economic imprint left by the Bush administration: Order No. 39 allows for: (1) privatization of Iraq’s 200 state-owned enterprises; (2) 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses; (3) “national treatment” – which means no preferences for local over foreign businesses; (4) unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and (5) 40-year ownership licenses.
Orders No. 57 and No. 77 ensure the implementation of the orders by placing U.S.-appointed auditors and inspector generals in every government ministry, with five-year terms and with sweeping authority over contracts, programs, employees and regulations.
Order No. 17 grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq’s laws. Even if they, say, kill someone or cause an environmental disaster, the injured party cannot turn to the Iraqi legal system. Rather, the charges must be brought to U.S. courts.
Order No. 40 allows foreign banks to purchase up to 50% of Iraqi banks.
Order No. 49 drops the tax rate on corporations from a high of 40% to a flat 15%. The income tax rate is also capped at 15%.
Order No. 12 (renewed on Feb. 24) suspends “all tariffs, customs duties, import taxes, licensing fees and similar surcharges for goods entering or leaving Iraq.” This led to an immediate and dramatic inflow of cheap foreign consumer products – devastating local producers and sellers who were thoroughly unprepared to meet the challenge of their mammoth global competitors.