A ministerial-led delegation of business leaders from the Kurdistan Region in Iraq this week visited Edinburgh, where they met Scottish ministers, members of parliament and business organisations who all agreed the two nations should strengthen their ties.
Trade and Industry Minister Sinan Çelebi and Municipalities and Tourism Minister Samir Abdullah Mustafa discussed tourism, the trading environment and energy in both the Kurdistan Region and Scotland in their meetings with Fiona Hyslop, Scotland's Culture and External Relations Secretary, and Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism.
Mr Ewing said, "We would like to do whatever we can to try to develop business links between Scottish and Kurdish companies."
He suggested that Kurdistan's private sector engage with Scottish Development International (SDI), the official trade and investment agency, which will introduce Kurdish businesses and the KRG to Scotland's key sectors and business community. A representative of SDI participated in the meeting.
Ms Hyslop said, “We hope for long and sustainable links for our mutual benefit. Kurdistan is an emerging market offering excellent business opportunities and has a young and growing population, while Scotland is strong in finance and banking, tourism, trade, oil and gas, which can be beneficial to you.”
Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the KRG’s High Representative to the UK said, “Kurdistan and Scotland have a great deal in common – we both have a population of five million, we too are proud of our highlands and landscapes, we have devolved administrations, and are rich in natural resources.”
The delegation also met with parliamentarians, trade organisations, and companies to discuss sharing expertise in business and also to explore potential cultural ties with Scotland.
The visit to Scotland is part of a week-long trade and investment road show, which has taken the delegation from London to Edinburgh and Belfast, to promote friendship through commerce and to build stronger cultural and trade ties with the British devolved nations.