America is the only advanced country in the world that has no legal requirement for its workers to receive paid vacation time. As is usually the case in America, though, members of Congress and the Senate get special treatment and are in fact required to take paid leave for the entire month of August. Given the current tranquility on Capitol Hill, we decided to see whether government officials in other parts of the world were having a more productive summer.
Interestingly enough, Iraq was a standout as its parliament finalized updated laws on labor and foreign investment. Iraq’s new labor law, which now complies with international conventions, was issued on 17 August. The investment law is still pending, but is expected to include a number of legal amendments to boost the country’s attractiveness to foreign investors.
New public infrastructure projects also got underway with the most noteworthy perhaps being the construction of a rail track that will open trade links between Iraq and Silk Road nations in Central Asia, as well as Russia and China. Finally, the government also finalized arrangements to receive their first sovereign debt ratings. Registering at B-minus was anything but flattering, but we do note that it is still two levels above Greece and Ukraine. Frankly though, the sub-par grade was fully expected and simply a formality as OPEC’s second biggest oil producer prepares for its first international bond issue in nine years.