ERBIL INTERNATIONAL FAIR
The tenth edition of the multi-sector trade fair, Erbil International Fair 2014, officially opened at the heart of Iraq’s business hub, Erbil on Tuesday the 9th December and ran until Thursday the 11th December.
IFP Iraq (International Fairs and Promotions) organized the event this year, with a ribbon cutting ceremony opening the fair. Representatives, high-ranking officials and dignitaries were present at the ceremony, with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Samal Sardar, the Minister of Electricity, Salhaddin Babakir, the Minister of Construction and Housing, Darbaz Kosrat Rasul, the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Abdul Majid Satar, the Minister of Municipalities and Tourism, Newroz Mawlood Amin, and the Governor of Erbil, Nawzad Hadi all in attendance. Joining them was the representative of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the region and the General Supervisor of Erbil International Fair, Mr. Abdallah Abdul Rahman.
IFP was represented by Mr. Fady Darwiche, the General Manager of IFP Iraq. Also in attendance were many ambassadors, diplomats and international business delegations from Germany, Italy, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Greece and the United States of America, amongst others.
Mr. Darwiche spoke to the esteemed audience, stressing that “the decision to hold the exhibition this year, despite the unfortunate circumstances in Iraq was to ensure the stability and to insist on the progress of the economic development in the Kurdistan region, especially that the Erbil International Fair has become an essential annual event attracting international companies which look forward to be part of the various planned and ongoing projects in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.”
Honorary shields were awarded to consuls, commercial attaches and the heads of trade delegations of participating countries at a special gala dinner, held at the Erbil Rotana Hotel.
More than 250 local, regional and international companies attended the fair this year, altogether representing 16 different countries. The Erbil International fair has been held annually for the past ten years, and is considered to be one of the most prominent specialized business events to take place in the region.
The fair proudly boasted an array of exhibitors, ranging from electronic products and services to home furnishings, stationary and fashion jewellery. It also displayed upholstery, toys, telecommunications, electronic systems, tourism and real estate services.
For its international exhibitors, the Erbil International Fair plays a leading role in creating business and investment opportunities within the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The Regional Government of Kurdistan has taken steps to ensure an investor-friendly environment due to the diverse variety of investment opportunities in the area. Since the adoption of the new investment law, along with the creation of Investment Authority in 2006, the value of investment in the region has crossed the $17 billion mark and the number of officially registered companies in the region has hit around 12,000.
Many of the EU Trade Commission missions have representatives from countries such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom in the area on a permanent basis – currently, contracts and bilateral agreements are signed almost daily between the region and its European partners.
The Arab Council of Tourism appointed Erbil as the 2014 Arab Tourism Capital, and the city has also been listed on the National Geographic Traveler Magazine for “2014 must-see places.” In order to open the gates of Iraq to thousands more visitors, some Arab nationals will be exempt from obtaining a visa. More than 250 local, regional and international companies attended the fair this year, altogether representing 16 different countries. The Arab Council of Tourism appointed Erbil as the 2014 Arab Tourism Capital.