(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expanded its global presence in promising markets, with the opening of its third international representative office in the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan region.
The value of trade between the UAE and Iraq was estimated to have reached over 8 billion in 2012, the majority of which was with the Kurdistan region. Iraq now ranks second behind Saudi Arabia as the largest market for Dubai Chamber members' exports and re-exports in 2013.
The Erbil office will seek to increase trade and also industry, agriculture, real estate and tourism, according to the chamber.
The office, which will define investment opportunities in Kurdistan and assist Dubai Chamber members access markets in Central Asia, Turkey and the Middle East, was opened during a trade mission led by the Dubai Chamber to Kurdistan from January 13-15.
It was officially opened by Dubai Chamber chairman Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair in the presence of Nawzad Hadi, governor of Erbil, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG); Hamad Buamim, president and CEO of the Dubai Chamber; Mohammed Rashid Al Mansouri, UAE Consul General in Erbil; and Mohammed Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy.
After the opening, Al Ghurair said that Erbil offices were evidence of the commitment of the Dubai Chamber to enhance economic ties with Kurdistan. He said that the purpose of the office was to assist Dubai companies invest and do business in the Kurdistan region.
"There are tremendous investment opportunities available in Kurdistan across various economic sectors, especially trade, reconstruction and the development of infrastructure, oil, tourism and industry. Through this representative office, Dubai Chamber can bring its members closer to these opportunities, while sharing Dubai's expertise and knowledge with the business community in Kurdistan," he added.
In a speech during the opening ceremony, Dubai Chamber's Buamim stressed his organisation's commitment to enhancing ties with the Kurdistan region.
Buamim said: "The office in Erbil provides added value for UAE companies and will help them access businesses opportunities in Kurdistan and connect them with local partners. The office will also support the presence of UAE companies in markets in Central Asia, Turkey and the Middle East."
He added: "This office opening is a key pillar of Dubai Chamber's strategy to stimulate economic growth by promoting Dubai's foreign trade and improving its competitive business environment. Dubai Chamber will continue with its international expansion throughout 2014 with a number of key markets targeted including China and India."
In his speech, the Governor of Erbil confirmed that the new office will have a positive and significant impact on economic relations. Nawzad Hadi said that Erbil was aiming to take advantage of the expertise and experience of Dubai in several vital economic sectors.
He expressed pride in Dubai Chamber choosing Erbil as the destination for its Kurdistan office.
The office of Erbil is Dubai Chamber's third international representative office.
Last year the organisation opened its first office in Baku, Azerbaijan, followed by Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.