A delegation of companies from Baghdad Chamber of Commerce visited the Chamber premises on 11th April. The trade mission from Iraq was led by Mr Jaafar Rasool Jaafar Al-Hamadani, Chairman, Baghdad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and included representatives of companies in the trading, construction, investment, tourism, transport and other commercial activities.
The event, to which ABCC members were invited, highlighted the huge business opportunities for UK investors that are available in the Iraqi market. Upwards of 80 business executives were present.
The Iraqi companies were visiting London to meet British companies and potential investors to explore the opportunities for strengthening links between the UK and Iraq private sectors.
The visiting delegation was accompanied by officials from the Iraq Embassy in London including Mr Nazar Mirjan Mohammed, Iraq’s Charge d’Affairs.
Welcoming the delegation, Mr Abdeslam El-Idrissi, Deputy CEO and Secretary General, ABCC, delivered greetings from the Chamber’s Chairman, the Rt Hon Baroness Symons, and from CEO Mr Bandar Reda, who were unable to be present.
Mr Nazar Mirjan Mohammed spoke of the role of the chambers in the development of business contacts between the two countries. He stated that the Baghdad Chamber was one of the oldest in Iraq having been established in 1926.
The Charge d’Affairs stressed that the Iraqi economy was currently under going a major transformation and was offering increased opportunities for private sector activities.
He looked forward to the trade mission leading to a reinforcement of bilateral trade relations and paid tribute to the ABCC for its work in support of Iraq.
Mr Nazar Mirjan Mohammed urged British companies to recognise the investment potential of Iraq because of its abundant natural and human resources and strategic geographical position. The country was open for business.
For his part, Mr Jaafar Rasool Jaafar Al-Hamadani reiterated the thanks to the Chamber for its hospitality and for hosting the event.
He also extended thanks to British companies that had continued to trade and do business in Iraq throughout the recent period. He stated that the visit enabled Iraqi and British firms to explore ways of working together for mutual success.
Mr Al-Hamadani briefly outlined the major sectors in the Iraqi economy starting with oil and gas. Agriculture also made a major contribution to the country’s wealth because of the natural landscape and rivers. Construction offered huge opportunities for investors because of country’s demand for new housing units.
The need had been recognised by the UK government which was establishing a fund to support UK-Iraq cooperation in the sector.
He believed that the Baghdad Chamber could work more closely with the ABCC in future to help companies take full advantage of the emerging opportunities.
Finally, Mr Al-Hamadani welcomed the forthcoming Arab British Economic Summit and hoped to organise another Iraqi delegation of companies to attend, a point that Mr Abdeslam El-Idrissi welcomed.
Mr El-Idrissi indicated that the ABCC was committed to supporting Iraq and pledged to work with the Baghdad Chamber. He expressed the need for more face-to-face contacts between Iraqi and British companies in order to increase the level of bilateral trade. Finally, Mr El-Idrissi outlined the services that the ABCC was able to offer companies in the Arab countries seeking to do business in the UK and with British partners.
The opening presentations were followed by discussion which continued over lunch. One-to-one business meetings were held in the afternoon session.