Iraq Britain Business Council: Accentuating the Positive

Since there were so many high calibre speakers it was not possible to include them all here, however we met so many fascinating people that we will be interviewing many of them for IBN in the coming months.

In particular, we’ll be drilling down into detail with speaker’s working on ambitious reconstruction projects and academics committed to strengthening the higher education sector in Iraq. Speaker highlights follow:

Jafaar al Hamdan, Chairman of the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce and Head of the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce

Mr. al Hamdan began by stressing Iraq’s commitment to establishing a strategic relationship with the world and noting Haydar al Abadi’s broad base of support not only at home but abroad.

He described Abadi’s new cabinet as being focused on the “strategic tasks” now facing Iraq and that a part of this involved provincial investment commissions building strategic relationships with foreign companies.Al Hamdan ended his speech with a note of defiance, emphasising that Iraq would overcome ISIS, since his country was built on a 1000 years of civilisation and “would not be brought down”.

He stressed that a key piece of Iraq’s way forward was building on its relations with British companies. This no doubt makes sense--insularity or limited strategic relations don’t always favour countries emerging from decades of crisis. But what was the British view?

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) representative Nick Archer confirmed the dovetailing of strategic vision between London and Baghdad when he described the UK’s commitment to expanding trade with Iraq, what he termed a “high value opportunity” in the parlance of the FCO.

In that respect, he noted Britain’s goal of £10 million in exports to Iraq per year by 2020. On his hopes for Iraq, Nick said he was already optimistic, describing Erbil as being akin to “San Francisco during the gold rush” and highlighting the huge importance of BP’s involvement in the super giant Majnoon oil field in southern Iraq.

Comments are closed.