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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 20/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Aiming to expand economic ties with the booming capital of Kurdistan, a high-level Sharjah delegation accompanied by top executives of several local establishments recently visited Erbil.

The Sharjah delegates also took part in the recent Erbil International Fair, the largest trade fair in Iraq. Their visit coincides with the launch of Air Arabia's services to Erbil, the Sharjah carrier's second destination in Iraq, offering four weekly flights.

The "Made in Sharjah" pavilion hosted 850 exhibitors from 22 countries showcasing products and services covering sectors such as engineering, electronics, construction, energy and education, among others.

The Sharjah delegation included Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) chairman Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, SCCI director-general Hussain Al Mahmoudi and Expo Centre Sharjah director-general Saif Mohammed Al Midfa. With them were representatives from over 30 local companies.

"Kurdistan's capital is undergoing unprecedented expansion... its per-capita income is much higher than the rest of the country... it is one of the best FDI [foreign direct investment] destinations in the Middle East... Kurdistan registered phenomenal growth last year when the rest of the world was dealing with another global slowdown. We have strong economic links with the region... we are looking at further strengthening our ties and playing a significant role in the future growth of the region," Saif Mohammed Al Midfa said.

"The Erbil International Fair is the largest fair in Iraq and offers us a dedicated platform to meet government officials and the business community to present each other's industrial growth and explore potential opportunities. Through the Made in Sharjah pavilion we are also highlighting the cost-effective business climate in Sharjah, where investment costs are considerably lesser than many other industrial hubs in the region, and can boast of tens of industrial areas which account for a big chunk of all goods produced in the region."

Kurdistan registered eight per cent growth last year, driven by the exploitation of its gas and oil reserves estimated at 45 billion barrels. The current gross domestic product per capita of the region is estimated at 4,500, which compares with nearly 3,600 in Iraq as a whole.

Kurdistan has one of the most business-friendly investment laws in the Middle East, including 100 per cent ownership. The whole region is experiencing a consumer and construction boom, with roads, bridges, shopping malls, hotels and amusement parks springing up everywhere.

"We are also promoting the trade shows organised and hosted by Expo Centre Sharjah to visitors to the Made in Sharjah pavilion. Being established trade shows in their respective sectors, our shows will offer Kurdish businesses and government bodies a great opportunity to source all their requirements that are generated by a booming economy.

At the same time participating in the trade shows organised in the region will open up investment, joint venture and dealership opportunities for business from Sharjah and the UAE," Al Midfa said.

Expo Centre Sharjah hosts some of the premier trade and consumer events in the regional exhibition calendar. They cover most of the industrial sectors and consumer segments in the region and are known for their reputation and popularity in bringing together leading manufacturers and dealers from across the world.


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