The United Kingdom’s Trade Minister Lord Green met with local business leaders, British company executives, as well as the IBBC’s representatives in Basrah today (23rd).
The hour long meeting, in an office complex shared by the IBBC, focussed on the security environment in Basrah and business opportunities for British companies in the region.
Executives from IBBC member firms Mott MacDonald and Kier and Basrah Chamber of Commerce joined the meeting with Lord Green who was accompanied by the British Ambassador to Iraq, Simon Collis.
Rasmi Al Jabri, Chief Executive of Basrah Engineering Company said: “It was a very, very good meeting. It was excellent to have British minister here.
“I think he left us with the impression Basrah was safe, as safe as say Kurdistan. “We gave him the very clear message British business was welcome in Basrah.”
Mr Al Jabri said he also urged the UK Minister to try to interest small to medium British businesses to consider investing in the Basrah region.
Lord Green said: “It’s clear that the UK-Basrah relationship is very strong. One of the aims of my visit is to underline our commitment to maintaining a very active diplomatic and commercial presence in Basra and I look forward to us establishing new and lasting UK/Basra relationships in all fields for the next generation.
“I’ve been fascinated to visit a range of British businesses in and around Basrah. I’ve seen the incredible work done by a British firm to deliver the fantastic Basrah Sports City complex and I’ve heard about the award winning management of BP which has changed working practices to make Iraq’s oilfields safer as well as more productive. These are all brilliant examples of British excellence and I’ve been encouraging the Basrawi leaders I’ve met to consider the value of British firms when they look for foreign investment.”
Lord Green’s mission to Iraq is the first by a British trade minister since 2003.
After the meeting the UK minister went on to have talks with the Basrah Governor, Dr Khalaf al Khalaf and visited Basrah’s Sports City complex.
IBBC opened its Basrah office in July last year and the IBBC’s Baroness Nicholson will visit the city to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Basrah Governorate soon. The IBBC’s staff member in Basrah Ahmad Hoobi was recruited last November.