Gulf mission to Iraq seeks to boost trade in ‘cash-rich’ Kurdistan

Published February 7th, 2013 - 08:31 GMT
Kurdistan is a cash-rich region and will capitalise on that to develop its market, attracting bigger investment
Kurdistan is a cash-rich region and will capitalise on that to develop its market, attracting bigger investment

Under the Ministry’s umbrella, this event will be held for two days starting on April 16. This mission is significant as it is represented by most of the trade-related government departments in the UAE. It brings together the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), Dubai Exports, Dubai Foreign Direct Investment, and Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. The Federation of Kurdish Chambers of Commerce has extended its full support to the UAE mission.

The mission includes businessmen, investors and government officials from the UAE. They will get a chance to attend a two-day conference and exhibition and would be able to develop business links with the private and public sector in Kurdistan.

Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Trade, said: “Iraq is a promising market with unprecedented investment opportunities and it is our duty to contribute in development and rebuilding of the Iraq economy.” The aim of this initiative is not only to attract Kurdistan market but to make it the UAE’s gateway to the entire Iraq market, he added.

Al Saleh remarked that Iraq is the second largest re-export market for the UAE, while the ultimate aim of this initiative is to increase trade volume and investments opportunities between the two countries. The overall non-oil trade between the UAE and Iraq has reached $6.8 billion in 2011, achieving 40 per cent increase in comparison with 2010, according to latest figures from the MoFT.

While the value of bilateral trade between the two countries has recorded at $5.1 billion (Dh18.73 billion) in the first half of 2012, Al Saleh remarked that the overall trade has conserved this remarkable growth and hopefully will be recorded at a value of $8 billion (Dh29.38 billion) in 2012 overall.

Saeed Al Awadi, CEO of Dubai Exports, said that TradeUAE Iraq comes in line with the aims of Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) to promote trade among Arab countries by opening new markets and creating more business opportunities.

“This official mission will focus on bringing businesses and government officials from both sides together to share useful information on main potential sectors in Kurdistan including, trade, construction, tourism, oil, hospitality, retail, utility, technology and telecommunication.”

Pointing to the UAE companies’ shares in the Iraqi market, Al Gergawi remarked that there is a good investment for these companies in Iraq naming, Al Futtaim Group, Rotana, Dana Gas, Paris Gallery, Damac and others.

Hamad Abdullah Al Mass, Executive Director of the International Relations Sector at Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, emphasised the importance of the agreement signed recently between DED and Abu Dhabi which seeks to increase UAE businesses’ shares across new and potential markets.

“This initiative will enable easy access for businessmen to new markets as well as it will create an ideal business climate that helps to promote UAE products and local industry and make it available in different markets,” he added.

One-on-one meetings for business matchmaking and a special Business direct programme for traders to meet privately with their counterparts will also be part of the event, clarified Laith Kubba, Managing Partner of Streamline Marketing Group. “Kurdistan is a cash-rich region and will capitalise on that to develop its market, attracting bigger investment,” he said.

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