Spain’s official foreign trade agency yesterday [Monday] launched a two-day business forum in Erbil to strengthen commercial ties between Spain and the Kurdistan Region. At the forum, 50 leading Spanish companies met government officials and representatives of over 150 local firms.
On behalf of Prime Minister Barham Salih, the Chairman of Kurdistan’s Investment Board Minister Herish Muharam welcomed the delegation led by the Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX). Speaking about revisions being made to the Kurdistan Investment Law, he said, “Whatever we do, the objective at the end is to make sure that investors are well treated and that they are working within a legal framework that can be recognised internationally.”
Minister Muharam urged Spanish and other foreign companies to explore the rich potential of the region and seize the investment opportunitiesr. He said that new ventures would be encouraged and supported in all sectors.
Mr Enrique Verdeguer, General Director of ICEX, commended the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on creating a stable and secure environment that has made Kurdistan’s recent economic boom possible. He said, “We encourage our businesses to open to international markets so that the external sector can enrich our economy. In this process, we see Iraq as a key partner in the region.”
Mr Antonio González-Zavala, Chargé d’Affaires of the Spanish Embassy in Iraq, said that relations between Spain and the Kurdistan Region have expanded and strengthened in the last few years. He emphasised the Spanish Embassy’s full support, saying, “We are extremely interested in keeping our commercial relations as close as possible to Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq”.
The Minister for Trade and Industry Sinan Chalabi commented on the scarcity of Spanish companies operating in the region and urged them to become more active, hoping that the Spanish forum will be the first of many more to come. He said, “Go around and witness what we have in this Region.”