Chinese delegation visits 'next Dubai' Kurdistan
A further indication of the growing importance of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has come with the visit of a high-level delegation from China.
Dubbed by some observers as the ‘next Dubai’ because of its vast oil reserves, liberal business environment and political and social stability, Kurdistan played host to the Chinese ambassador to Iraq, Ni Jian, for the first time recently.
The Chinese interest follows the Kurdistan Region’s deals with numerous western companies, especially in the oil and gas sector, who see the region as having impressive high-growth investment potential.
Mr Jian met Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and they discussed the potential of setting up a consulate in Erbil, the region’s capital, and improving trade links.
Ambassador Jian said that the Chinese government was especially interested in the areas of scientific research, culture, business and trade.
He said: "There are already a number of Chinese companies active in this region, and we want to attract further Chinese businesses to participate in the rebuilding process of the country as a whole".
He reiterated his government’s commitment to expanding bilateral relations with Kurdistan and further developing their partnership with Iraq.
The KRG prime minister encouraged the ambassador to explore areas of mutual interests, including industry, agriculture and tourism, and welcomed their plans for a consulate in Erbil as an ‘important step’ to establishing political ties and with promoting further exchange of visits.
"We encourage you to use Kurdistan as a gateway for the rest of the Iraqi market and as a platform to increasing business and trade".
The head of KRG department of foreign relations, minister Falah Mustafa participated in the meeting with the Prime Minister and held a separate meeting with the visiting ambassador.
Commenting on their plans for a consulate in Erbil, he said: “We currently host four of the five permanent Security Council members, and we have always encouraged others to take advantage of the safety and stability of our region.
"A Chinese consulate will pave the way for direct communication with our authorities and allow China to truly understand the rich investment opportunities that our region has to offer".
During his visit, Ambassador Jian also met with the KRG minister of interior, Mr Karim Sinjari.
In October, Global Trader is producing a special guide to doing business in the Kurdistan Region.