Nearly 200 British companies currently exporting to Kurdistan Region, says UK envoy
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – About 200 British companies in various sectors are exporting to Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, as London-Erbil economic ties are expected to be widened, the United Kingdom envoy to the Kurdish region has told Kurdistan 24 recently.
The remarks by Consul General Rosy Cave, the first female British envoy to the Region, came during an exclusive interview with Kurdistan 24, which was aired on Tuesday night. It was the diplomat’s first appearance on Kurdish media.
Fostering Anglo-Kurdish business ties is high on the agenda for the new diplomat.
“Those economic ties [and] increasing trade are really, really important for me, …, and the UK,” Cave said.
There are around 200 British companies already exporting to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) in sectors such as education, food and drink, motor vehicles, health care, she added.
The UK has a “keen interest” in exploring other sectors, such as infrastructure and technology, according to the diplomat.
Kurdistan Region parliamentary election
Kurdish lawmakers last year delayed the sixth parliamentary elections by a year, as poltiical parties could not come together to hold the polls due to differences on the form of the new elections.
“We are keen to see this parliamentary election take place as soon as they can,” Cave said regarding the elections, adding her country have a “shared value in democratic principles” with the Region.
No date has yet been set for the elections.
Despite the recent ruling by the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court (FSC) againt releasing the financial entitlements of the Region for the last two months of 2022, the UK is delighted by the “positive negotiations” between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Iraqi federal govenrmetn.
She hopes “those positive negotiations continue,” so the two sides can reach a sustainable agreement on the budget.
KRG ninth cabinet reform programme
The UK works with the KRG in its digitalization efforts, as part of a strategy that aimes to make the government paper-free by 2025.
“We are able to support certain areas. One is economic reform. We want to work closely with the KRG in terms of enhancing and enabling the environment for business and for promoting entrepnerueship,” she said.
The country is also partnering with the regional government to help its reform programme, including the Security Sector Reform (SSR) and education.
The UK with its Western allies, including the US, the Netherlands and Germany are providing advice to the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs in reforming its command structure and fighting capabilities.
“It is really important that we work together to help achieve a highly effective fighting force,” she said.
Erbil-London diplomatic ties
The new envoy, replacing her predecessor, David Hunt, described the diplomatic ties between Iraq’s Kurdish region and the UK as “warm and productive”.
Prime Minister Masrour Barzani last year paid an official visit to London, where he had met with the country’s top government officials as well as the former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Numerous chief diplomats and military figures similarly visited the Kurdish region last year as well.
Those visits had ideantified the “shared priorities” between the two govnerments, she said.
Several Kurdish students annually study various Master’s program in the UK on the British government’s flagship scholarship programme called Chevening.
Last year, eleven Kurdish students were able to benefit from the academic program, according to the diplomat.
Last year, Prime Minister Barzani along with local investors and British diplomats laid the foundation stone of the first British university in Iraq and Kurdistan Region, University of London whose campus is planned to be inaugurated late 2023.