KRG Trade Minister Sinan Abdulkhalq Almed Chalabi has been telling a delegation of IBBC members the door to trade: “was open, and we need everything.” Mr Chalabi added that a free market policy was operating in Iraq after decades of being under the hand of government. In his office in Erbil the Minister said everything in the room had been imported including light fittings. He said this was a poor state of affairs and Iraq had to change. He urged more companies to step forward and assist in the development of the region.
The IBBC delegation, led by Executive Chairman Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, was on a four day visit to Erbil where they also met the Kurdish Regional Government’s President Masoud Barzani. Granted a rare audience at the President’s home at Salahudin IBBC members were told by Mr Barzani he wanted to see more British companies investing in the Kurdish region. He said: “I hope that as companies you will support us at this critical time in the development of Kurdistan. I would like to see a deepening relationship. There are British businesses here already and we want to see more growth. There is a willingness to have a relationship and we are very happy to facilitate this for you.”
Another highlight was a one day conference hosted by IBBC members, The Erbil Chamber of Commerce. British companies numbered the highest in companies registered by the KRG but Nawrooz Amin, of the Kurdistan Investment Board said: “The numbers of British companies were disappointingly low.” “We want more,” she said. Other than hydrocarbons she listed agriculture, tourism and industrial sectors as a priority.