The 9th edition of Erbil International Fair 2013 was officially opened on September 23 at Erbil International Fair Grounds, Erbil. The opening ceremony was attended by large number of dignitaries, notably the spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government Sven Dizeiy, Mayor of Erbil Mr Nozad Hadi, and General Manager of the Erbil International Fair Grounds, Mr. Abdallah Abdel Rahim, representative of the British Prime Minister for business affairs, the president of the Kurdistan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Mr. Dara Jaleel Al-kyayat, and a large number of ambassadors and diplomats in addition to a large number of businessmen and traders coming from different parts of Iraq .
The Erbil International Multi-Sector Trade Fair, which has been held yearly for the past nine years, is considered one of the most prominent specialized business events that take place annually in the region in order to stimulate and develop trade between Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq on one hand, and among neighboring states and the Asian, European, and American countries on the other.
The Erbil International Fair is considered the flagship trade fair that provides the entry point of all companies wanting to capitalize on lucrative business opportunities in a promising market. Iraq harbors enormous untapped economic potential and offers great rewards for investors. The local government adopted a long term strategic plan to transform this region of Iraq into a center of preference for investments by offering a secure haven that would encourage international investors to venture into this region.
This year, the Fair has attracted more than 550 local, regional, and international companies, representing around 21 countries from all over the world, take part in this exhibition, including Austria, Brazil, China, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Korea, Lebanon, Pakistan, Portugal, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
The event benefits from the support of a large number of trade promotion agencies, chambers of commerce, trade unions and associations, ministries and embassies including the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JDECO), the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology, the Iranian Ministry of Industry and Minerals, the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB), the Turkish Ministry of Economy, Egypt Expo & Convention Authority (EECA), the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, and many others.
This is an exciting time for investors and traders to venture into Iraq and its northern gateway in Kurdistan region. Government buildings, roads, schools, residential accommodation, and shopping centers are all under construction or in the pipeline.
Under a government plan, billions are to be invested in the development of public infrastructure in Baghdad and the regions. The energy sector is to be rehabilitated, the telecom sector needs to be upgraded, bridges, roads and hundreds of thousands of houses to be constructed, and financial services need to be expanded in the areas of banking, venture capital, micro financing, insurance, and capital markets.
Kurdistan’s Regional Government aims to place the region firmly within the fold of the digital revolution, enabling internet and electronic services access and top-quality communications networks. Although the northern region of Iraq enjoys abundant annual rainfall and produces between 30% and 35% of Iraq’s total grain crop, the agro-sector is desperately in need of modernization. Investment in all aspects of this industry is needed for the region to reach its full potential.
The Kurdistan Regional Government has also taken steps to ensure an investor-friendly legislative environment. Liberal investment laws include income and property tax exemptions for foreign companies; further exemptions for fixed assets including equipment, land, vehicles, furniture, spare parts, and raw materials; no local employment quotas; and an assurance that all economic sectors, with the exception of oil and gas, are open to foreign investment.