Sunday 20th of June 2010, there was a real buzz in downtown Baghdad. Iraqi businessmen queued for hours to get through the security checks for the chance to discover American or British companies that could supply goods or services of quality.
The Baghdad Catalogue Show was an event that really demonstrated the strong desire and real will of reputable Iraqi businesses to trade with their US and UK partners. Over 100 people attended the half day event. Many had to be turned away due to the events limited capacity and advance registration process.
Many of the Iraqi businesses men in attendance of the event expressed their hope that trade relations with America and the UK would return to previous levels. The perception of superior quality and shared cultural values with the US and UK persists in modern day Iraq.
Part of any international companies’ overseas strategy must start by understanding the local operational environment and any event that can help companies to do that are critically important in assisting US & UK SME’s to successfully engage in the Iraqi market. The Catalogue Show was conceived as a preliminary step, combining the experience and expertise of Upper Quartile and G4S along with the trade support activities of the US Commercial Service. Catalogues are not sufficient to secure a long term business relationship especially in a country where face-to-face contact remain an essential element of business engagement but it has been a starting point for many of the businesses that took part in the Show.
Next year the Show will be bigger and better, with more private sector involvement from all 3 countries!