Kurdistan Region to American Companies: We Want You Here!
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There are a lot of things that you might expect to see while strolling down a sidewalk in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Bustling outdoor markets, the ancient city walls of the Citadel of Arbil. But would you expect to pass by a billboard advertisement for a U.S. auto company? How about a hardware store marketing American-made drills?
In this post-war era, the most prominent example of American influence on the rise in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is in the influx of U.S. companies doing business there. That’s why the U.S. Chamber co-led a delegation of 29 companies representing an array of sectors to the Kurdistan Region last week to explore opportunities to increase trade and investment that would continue this positive trend.
Earlier this year, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani visited the U.S. Chamber and asked that we bring American companies to the region. We graciously accepted his proposal, and those companies were welcomed by President Barzani himself during the business mission.
While meeting with the President, he underlined the importance of involving the U.S. private sector in the continued development of the Kurdistan Region, saying that it is “in need of the experience and knowledge of U.S. companies for building a solid infrastructure.”
The Chairman of the KRG Board of Investment, Minister Herish Muharam, echoed this sentiment, proclaiming that the Kurds are “very keen on strengthening business ties with American companies and we welcome you to invest in the Kurdistan Region. We have a very friendly investment law and are ready to guide you to the investment opportunities in Kurdistan in sectors of agriculture, trade, and tourism.”
In meetings with other KRG ministers, the Governor of Sulaimani, and local business leaders, the willingness and desire to work more closely with American companies was unmistakable. Simply put, opportunities abound in the Kurdistan Region.
Coupling this fact with the improved security and stability of the region and the welcoming attitudes of its people and government, it becomes obvious that we must work to continue to raise awareness about the vast opportunities in the Kurdistan Region and encourage more American companies to take a serious look at this dynamic, emerging market. The door to commercial opportunity is wide open in the Kurdistan Region, and now is the time for more American companies to walk through it.
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