Iraqi Kurdistan Open To Arab Investment

By Abdel Hamid Zebari for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Arab states no longer look at the Kurdistan Region of Iraq with suspicion and apprehension, especially after the regional capital, Erbil, was selected as the Arab Capital of Tourism for 2014. Furthermore, economic and trade relations between these states and the Kurdistan region have evolved.

It appears that developments in economic and trade relations between Arab states and the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq have preceded the development of political ties. Statistics released by Kurdish institutions concerned with investment in the area show that Arab companies — particularly from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Lebanon — have invested billions of dollars in oil and construction in the region. This has led many Arab states to open consulates and representative commercial offices in Erbil.

Mufti Kamran Raqeeb, the general manager in the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) investment agency, said:

"The KRG's investment law does not differentiate between national and foreign investors. They both have the same rights. This has led to the emergence of Arab and foreign investment in the region."

According to Raqeeb, the region has immense natural resources, including vast agricultural areas and numerous sources of water. This is in addition to other elements that might attract tourism investment. Raqeeb stressed:

"The region has succeeded in opening up politically and economically to the brotherly neighboring states, the Gulf states, Egypt and Lebanon. This includes many prospects for economic cooperation, given that there are many Arab businessmen who are investing their money in the region."

Raqeeb said that the Arab investments have accounted for 10% of all investments in the region, which amounts to $26 billion dollars. The regional government has worked to adopt an investment policy that focuses on three strategic sectors — industry, agriculture and trade — as priorities for the coming years. Said Raqeeb, "We are hoping to expand investment in the region, particularly Arab and foreign investment."

4 Responses to Iraqi Kurdistan Open To Arab Investment

  1. Lorenzo 24th April 2013 at 21:07 #

    So who said that KRG and kurds do not like arabs? From investment to cultural events, books etc

    Why do not like other arab countries Baghdad as much? OOh, the same old story or security, foresee changes of tules of engagement (no black lists) and modern or contemporary investment laws.

    Obviously those arabs are thinking 180 degrees differently from our arabs in Baghdad. Why is it so? This time I will not mention corruption nor nepotism (which exist in Kurdistan but obviously not as much as to prevail from investing there)

  2. Uruki-the-Iraqi 24th April 2013 at 23:28 #

    “This includes 98 Emirati companies, 97 Lebanese companies, and 12 Egyptian companies, as well companies from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf states."
    The KRG’s Ministry of Trade and Industry obvious open trade policy and their OTHER big trade partners also include Turkey, Iran, many Western, Asian countries as well as the state of ISRAEL…
    One would also conclude the KRG is breaking and challenging the international sanction on Iran by allowing Iranian products to enter the KRG, Iraq and the rest of the Arab world (note how they blame the Iraqi government for being an extension arm to the Safavid Persian dynasty, while it is OK for the Kurds to deal with Iranian and Israeli companies)
    By the same token, Israeli products are also being imported and spread throughout the Arab markets by means of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
    We can see how this would bring immense profits to echelon Kurdish merchants and to their international investors, partners and what have you, but it is also a classic example for a future disaster!!
    This international trade also brings crime, espionage, corruption, greed and ultimately breach of security and chaos to KRG, Iraq and to the rest of the Arab world
    Iraqis can appreciate Lebanese and Emirati (classy) companies but why partner with Egyptian (fundamentalist Islamic Brotherhood), Saudi (Wahhabi Royal family), Kuwaiti (traditional Iraqi haters), Iranian (Safavid Empire), Turkish (Neo Ottomans) and Israeli (apartheid Zionist state)…
    Saddam also partnered with Sadat’s Egypt and brought more than one million Egyptian workers to Iraq in the 70s and 80s and we ALL (Iraqis) clearly remember what this Arab rudeness did to Iraq, Iraqis and to the Iraqi culture!
    Do you see how this problem is being brewed in the KRG and how it will negatively affect the rest of Iraq and the entire Middle East in general??

  3. Cristiano Ronaldo 25th April 2013 at 08:46 #

    What I see is trade and more trade and even more business to the benefit of the Iraqui society.

    What is wrong with Israel goods? Is it better with godless products from China? What is wrong by allowing Iranian goods to be exported to Iraq?

    Iraq produces nothing and consumes everything. There is limited resources or money and what is wrong by buying the best price/performance of the market?

    I think that Iraq could look at some countries like Singapore and Hong Kong as role models for a free trade society and compare their wealth with the links to free trade.

    Remember that any Iraqui consumer has 100% power to not buy goods or buy goods from anywhere he likes it. The Iraqui consumer do not need a big brother for such decisions. They are factually grown up's and can make own decisions.

    I respect those decisions