(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry will open a representative office in Iraq's Kurdistan region next year as part of its strategy to explore promising markets and to enhance the competitiveness of Dubai businesses in that part of the world, Chairman Dubai Chamber Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair announced today.
"The new office will help boost the presence of Dubai businesses in the Northern region of Iraq as the country was the second largest destination for Dubai Chamber members' exports and re-exports accounting for 14% of total goods traded with regional partners during the first half of this year," Al Ghurair said in opening remarks of the Country Focus Briefing on Kurdistan, organized in Dubai by the Chamber and the Kurdistan Regional Government in presence of representatives of Dubai and Kurdistan businesses.
The Country Focus Briefing, which was launched in late 2010, aims to introduce Dubai's business community to investment opportunities in emerging export destinations and this time focused on Kurdistan to enable Dubai Chamber members to develop relationships with relevant trade bodies in the northern region of Iraq.
Al Ghurair further stated, "Kurdistan has opened its doors to the world and holds ample promise for Dubai investors who can benefit from the vibrant investment environment offered by the region." He said, "The rising profile of Kurdistan's investment potential can be gauged from the fact that Iraq which ranked 14th on the list of Dubai's top trading partners in 2008 jumped to 7th position in 2011 with non-oil trade between Dubai and Iraq rising by 60% last year in comparison to the year 2008." Al Ghurair added, "The northern region constitutes 50% of Dubai's trade with Iraq. Hence the need to strengthen our bilateral ties in the areas of trade and services with the promising region." He also urged Kurdistan investors to benefit from the competitive investment potential offered by the emirate and its connectivity to regional countries as he stressed on Dubai's economy moving away from oil reliance and focusing on trade, tourism, logistics and financial services which are the main drivers of the emirate's economy and are lucrative areas for foreign direct investments, added Al Ghurair.
In his opening remarks, Minister of Trade and Industry of Kurdistan Regional Government Sinan Celebi said his country offers an excellent investment environment but needs expertise and capital from Dubai companies for its long-term growth and prosperity." He accredited his country's vibrant investment environment to two key factors namely security and abundance natural resources including huge reserves of oil which run into 45 billion barrels while the volume of expected natural gas reserves is between 2.8 to 5.7 trillion cubic metres, hence offering substantial investment potential for foreign investments.
Since 2003, the governments of the region have adopted free market economic policies and have banked on the private sector for the development of the region, he noted.
"The provincial government of Kurdistan is working hard to provide a healthy investment environment while new regulations to enhance business growth through the implementation of attractive investment laws and other related laws were underway," he added.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry also gave a presentation on trade and investment opportunities in Kurdistan, as well as a case study on Kurdistan Perspective.