Germany’s Deputy Minister for Trade and Investment Dr. Karl Ernest Brauner this week opened Germany's Liaison Office for Industry and Commerce in Erbil in an effort to further facilitate trade with the Kurdistan Region in Iraq.
During his visit to Erbil, Dr. Brauner also met with President Masoud Barzani who welcomed the decision to launch the commercial office.
At the opening, Dr. Brauner emphasised the role of the office in stimulating German activity in the Region, noting that only one other such German office exists in Iraq, in Baghdad. Dr. Brauner reiterated Germany’s commitment to contribute to the reconstruction of the Kurdistan Region and all of Iraq, and said the commercial office would facilitate the activity of German companies in this regard.
The opening was held at the German-based AGEF training facility and included speeches from the Kurdistan Regional Government's Minister of Trade and Industry Sinan Chalabi and the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations Falah Mustafa Bakir.
Mr. Chalabi said, “Opening such an office signals an important commitment and will bring forth significant benefits in the economy and commerce of the Kurdistan Region.” He added, “Beginning an office is difficult, but I am confident that its activity and scope will grow steadily, and my ministry stands ready to provide any assistance that may be requested.”
Mr. Bakir said, “The KRG strongly supports this step taken by the German government in order to facilitate further cooperation between Germany and our Region through the private sector, in line with the KRG's open-door policy to promote increased interaction with the international community.
This office can serve as a conduit for German firms wishing to explore investment and commercial opportunities in the Kurdistan Region, as a gateway to Iraq.”
The commercial office will be located on the premises of the AGEF Centre, but will operate as part of the German government. The Office is led by Mr. Volker Wildner and is in addition to the German Consulate which was opened in Erbil last year.
Separately, Dr. Brauner met with President Barzani. The President thanked the Deputy Minister for the visit and for Germany’s decision to open the liaison office. He lauded the efforts already undertaken by Germany to strengthen the partnership, and emphasised the importance of German expertise and investment in the Region.
Dr. Brauner travelled to Erbil with a business delegation, including representatives from renowned companies such as Daimler A.G., Lufthansa Airlines, and RWE Supply and Trading.