The United Kingdom’s Trade Minister Lord Green met with local business leaders, British company executives, as well as the Iraq Britain Business Council representatives in Basrah today (23rd).
The hour long meeting 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.
Trade and Investment Minister 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 Basrah and I look forward to us establishing new and lasting UK/Basrah 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.“
Rasmi Al Jabri, chief executive of Basrah Engineering Company said:
“It was a very, very good meeting. It was excellent to have a 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.
A UKTI spokesman said:
“Lord Green had a very enjoyable visit and appreciated seeing the situation on the ground. The point about SMEs I think was well taken.“
Lord Green’s mission to Iraq is the first by a British trade minister since 2003. Today’s meeting was in an office complex shared by the IBBC on Basrah’s Corniche.
After the meeting the UK minister went on to have talks with the Basrah Governor, Dr Khalaf al Khalaf and visited the Basrah Sports City complex, built by IBBC member Anwar Soura General Contracting Company.
The IBBC opened its Basrah office in July last year and Executive Chairman Baroness Nicholson will visit the city to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Basrah Governorate soon. The IBBC’s staff member is Basrah, Ahmad Hoobi, was recruited last November.
Picture, L – R: Nafea Rahem al-Jabri (Basrah Engineering), Peter Hunt (HWH Associates), Simon Collis (British Ambassador to Iraq), Lord Green (UK Trade Minister), Rasmi al-Jabri (Basrah Engineering), Ali Abdul Hussein (Kentz Global), Ahmad Hoobi (IBBC), Colin Long (Mott Macdonald), Qasem Hamad Bader (Basrah Chamber of Commerce), Kamal Rahem (Kier).