Private sector key to improving KRI people's lives: US Consul General in Erbil

The US official confirmed that respect for fundamental human rights is a key pillar for the US investment community, in addition to the rule of law, freedom of the press, and gender equality.
US Consul General in Erbil, Irvin Hicks Jr., speaking at the US Chamber of Commerce conference, June 18, 2023. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
US Consul General in Erbil, Irvin Hicks Jr., speaking at the US Chamber of Commerce conference, June 18, 2023. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US Consul General in Erbil Irvin Hicks Jr. on Sunday delivered a speech at the US Chamber of Commerce conference in Erbil.

The US Chamber of Commerce Kurdistan Region, known as AmCham Kurdistan, hosted a conference for the trade delegation with the participation of top Kurdish officials and foreign diplomats. At this conference, the Consul General discussed many pressing issues in the Kurdistan Region. 

“The longer I’m here in the KRI (Kurdistan Region of Iraq), the more I’m convinced that the private sector holds the greatest promise for improving the lives of the people throughout the KRI,” Hicks Jr. said.

Hicks continued by discussing his mission's focus on political matters, tensions between political parties, tensions between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Baghdad, the budget, and elections.

“These matters are important, of course, but they’re important precisely for the impact they have on the stability of the region, the investment climate, the ability of ordinary people to live and work in freedom and security,” the US diplomat added.

Furthermore, the US official confirmed that respect for fundamental human rights is a key pillar for the US investment community, in addition to the rule of law, freedom of the press, and gender equality.

“These values are not just important for strong democracies but essential for strong economies,” he reaffirmed.

Hicks Jr. reiterated that American investors value innovation and creativity in inclusive, diverse societies.

“The US remains committed to these principles,” he noted and added, “That’s why you will always hear us advocating for the protection of human rights alongside our advocacy for a stronger, transparent, and more competitive business environment.”

A number of renowned US brands in several sectors, including fast food chains, clothing brands, and automobile dealerships, have opened branches in the Kurdistan Region.

Also on Sunday, Kurdistan 24 interviewed Anna Burress, director of Middle East affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Lutes, vice president for Middle East affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, in which they discussed US-Kurdistan Region trade ties and American investment in the region. 

Read More: Senior US Chamber of Commerce officials discuss US-Kurdistan Region trade ties with Kurdistan 24

In a bid to improve the business climate and facilitate investment, the KRG's ninth cabinet recently launched its online Business Registration System. This slashes the cost of company licensing by over 80 percent, according to government officials.