Iraq is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources, and yet it suffers from a dismal economy with an unemployment rate of up to 18 per cent.

The country's economy slipped under Saddam Hussein's long rule and nose-dived further in the anarchic years that followed the US-led invasion in 2003.

But even now, despite much optimism over a stable democratic future in Iraq, several UN trade sanctions applied in the early 1990's during Hussein's reign - are still in effect.

And they are costing the country tens of billions of dollars in lost trade every year.

AL Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey reports from Baghdad.