A delegation of companies from Northern Ireland has just completed its first trade mission to Kurdistan and deemed it an excellent introduction to the region that may lead to business in the future.
Seventeen companies from Northern Ireland, which is one of the autonomous regions of the UK, spent five days in Erbil and met many local companies and government officials. The mission was organised by Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI), the region’s trade and investment government agency, and led by Mr Noel Johnston, Director of the Asia trade team.
During their visit, Invest NI and the Northern Ireland companies hosted a reception at the Erbil International Hotel, which attracted over 120 guests from Kurdistan’s business community. At the reception Mr Johnston said, “We are here to get to know you and make friends. We appreciate the hospitality you have shown us, and we wanted to host you in return.”
He added, “The 17 companies have met many Kurdish companies and are optimistic about doing business. Invest Northern Ireland will continue to bring our companies here to study the many opportunities available. I also hope to invite a delegation of Kurdish firms to Northern Ireland in the future, to see for themselves what our companies can offer.”
Ms Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) High Representative to the UK, said, “We’re delighted to see companies from Northern Ireland in Kurdistan. Last year in Belfast I met Mrs Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment. She is very keen to strengthen ties between our two regions.”
The companies represented several sectors, such as construction machinery, power generation, further and higher education, security training and equipment, engineering, architecture, contracting and water treatment. They met many private companies, ministry director generals, and went on site visits to a shopping mall project and a major housing development. Their programme was arranged by the KRG UK Representation and the Department of Foreign Relations (DFR).