ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The thirteenth annual international exhibition was just launched in the Kurdistan Region’s city of Sulaimani with more than 180 local and foreign companies taking part in the event.
“It has major economic benefits as dozens of companies have participated in this exhibition," the head of Sulaimani's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sirwan Mohammed, told Kurdistan 24 on Friday. "Through this activity, our businessmen can see different foreign products and make decisions on franchising in the Kurdistan Region."
Iranian companies had a strong presence in the exhibition, numbering about 35 firms, while less than 10 Turkish companies participated in the event.
This comes as the annual trade exchange between the Kurdistan Region and Iran reaches about $6 billion, whereas, with Turkey, it is almost double that.
“As you may know, many of the Kurdistan Region's businessmen have their bank accounts in Iran now, and there is $20 to $50 million in trade exchange between us [the Kurdistan Region and Iran] on a daily basis,” Iranian Consul in the Kurdistan Region Sadoula Masoudian told reporters at the event.
He referred to current US sanctions on Iran and remarked that businessmen in the Kurdistan Region have been trading with Iran for 13 years. “How come they are pressured to close their accounts now? On the contrary, we are facilitating an exchange of trade with foreign businessmen and investors in Iran.”
Shad Bahzad, a representative of a local construction company, stated that his firm is able to actively invest in the Kurdistan Region’s construction sector, but that he felt there ought to be some projects initiated by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) first that would import a higher standard of materials from Europe.
Over 100 firms which participated in the exhibition were national companies while the rest were from Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other regional countries.
Editing by John J. Catherine