IBBC hosts largest ever delegation of Iraqi business people at London Business Forum

In a wide-ranging business event over 230 Iraqi business-people and 70 British gathered to meet and discuss Business relations, trade, investment and engagement with the UK’s Business community.

Delegates from all regions of Iraq through the chambers of commerce gathered to hear from representatives of trade associations, IBBC members, chambers of commerce and investors.

Baroness Nicholson, President of IBBC, welcomed the new Iraqi Ambassador, H.E. Mr Mohammad Jaafar Al- Sadr, who gave a keynote address at the conference. The Ambassador speech was followed by an address of H.E Mr Karwan Jamal, High Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Of note were the panel from Iraqi business people, headed by Dr Dara Jalel Al-Khayat, Chairman of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Kurdistan, and representatives from Babil, Baghdad and Basra Chambers, as well as the chair of the Importers and exporters association in Kurdistan.

From the British side, a panel consisting of Rod Dowler of the Industry Forum, Alan Rides MD of Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, Brigadier James Ellery of Turnkey LLC and Mr Peter Hunt of HWH Associates and Raed Hanna, MD of MFL Finance, all spoke positively of their experiences in Iraq, but tempered with advice on improvements to the Iraqi experience. Finally, Jessica Hao of Crossboundary associates spoke of opportunities to invest in start-ups and SMEs in Iraq with support of USAID.

Key messages included the enthusiasm with which the Iraqis are keen for British Investment into numerous sectors in Iraq, especially Agriculture, Petro Chemicals, Food Processing, Housing and Consumer goods.

The idea of joint ventures with British know how and expertise and Iraqi partners are also suggested as ways to overcome perceptions of risk in the country. However, many delegates all supported the notion that despite the present legitimate protests in many parts of the country overall peace and stability has returned to Iraq following the defeat of DAESH and that the business environment is getting more favourable. Nevertheless, much needs to be done to free up and boost the private sector, an essential step to meet the demands for real jobs and futures of the ever-increasing young Iraqi population.

Following the formal event, the delegates networked extensively with each other and the British contacts in the room.

The group move onto Northampton University, Ardley high tech waste centre, and High-tech leather innovation centre in Northampton University before returning to Iraq.

For more information on the contacts for exports and import opportunities, please contact London@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) took a significant group of members on a trade mission to KRI this week. Paramount was the need to review business opportunities and investment in the region and to learn directly from the Prime Minister Barzani his plans for business and industry.

The group, led by Baroness Nicholson, UK Trade Envoy to Iraq, Christophe Michels MD of IBBC and Eng Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of IBBC included representatives from Jaguar LandRover, Crescent Petroleum, EY, Siemens, Sardar Trading Agency, Garda World, Stirling Education, KPMG, G4S, OilServ Kuwait, and from the DIT Mr Rawand Askary, and James Thornton of UK FCO.

The Prime Minister introduced a number of Ministers for discussion with the group, including KRI Minister of Electricity Mr Kamal Mohammad Saleh discussing project finance and other related matters. The DG of the KRIs MoI joint crisis coordination centre Mr Hoshang Mohamed discussed the clearance of IEDs & mines and the handling of the overall IDP and refugee crisis (that G4S have been heavily engaged with).

In conversation, Mr Barzani stated that ‘the KRI government will bring in reforms to cut down on red tape for the private sector to develop. It will pursue a policy of registering companies through a ‘one window’ online portal which should allow company registrations to be done in the same time it takes in western countries to do so. He also said that the new administration is streamlining overall bureaucracy for private businesses to limit unnecessary Government interference.

The Government is also planning to draft a new bribery law to fight corruption and is looking at reviewing its financial framework to encourage PPPs throughout the economy including education and health. Diversification of the economy is big on the agenda with agriculture, tourism and the manufacturing of goods being a priority. KRI should import less and produce more and eventually find markets outside its borders for its products. Foreign partners for all of this are sought after.’

A permanent revenue sharing agreement with Baghdad is top of the agenda among other things to allow credit export agencies to work directly in the KRIG.’

On Sunday the Planning Minister and Mr Amanj Raheem, Cabinet Secretary, Kurdistan Regional Government spoke, and the Ministers for Construction and Electricity attended the British Consulate Reception taking place at the JLR show room kindly sponsored by Sadar Trading Agencies – thanks to Mr Sardar Al-Bebany Chairman and CEO. Dr Dara Al Khayat, Chairman of KRI federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Erbil, hosted a Monday evening event and on Tuesday the mission visited Crescent Petroleum offices.

The trip continued to Baghdad

(Source: IBBC)

Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) fields significant Baghdad meetings with Dr Barham Salih, President of Iraq, and Ambassadors, to strengthen private sector business in Iraq.

IBBC President Baroness Nicholson and MD Christophe Michels, Rasmi Al Jabri, IBBC Deputy Chairman and Mohanad Al Khatab Baghdad Office Manager, met this week with the President Dr Barham Salih and a range of Government of Iraq Ministers and business leaders.

The team updated the President on the work of IBBC and it’s members in Iraq. There followed wide ranging discussions on current affairs in Iraq and internationally. The President was ‘delighted to see IBBC in Baghdad in these challenging times and complimented the organisation for its ongoing and very effective work. He said that he was willing to support IBBC fully whenever required.’

Additional meetings included the Chief of Justice Faik Zidan, to follow up on his recent visit to London when IBBC hosted him, and to discuss the legal framework in Iraq and current affairs.

Dr Sami Al Araji, Head of the National Investment Commission (NIC) also agreed to plan future regular joint activities in Baghdad as the situation returns to normal.

Further meetings included Civil Society activist Mrs Hana to understand the many reasons for the protests and the latest news from Tahir Square and around the country. IBBC expressed sympathy for the movement and discussed ways in which the protest movement could succeed in some of it’s demands without facing a full confrontation with the security forces.

At the US Ambassador Tueller’s residence, the Ambassador, guests and Ambassadors from Canada and Australia and John Tucknot UK Deputy Head of mission, discussed the work of IBBC and how to strengthen collaboration with the US, Canada and Australia, to support the private sector. IBBC is widely recognised as being the most successful trade council in Iraq.

Thanks also to IIB, Al Burhan Group, G4S, Zain and March Group for their support during the visit.

(Source: IBBC)

KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani has received a delegation from the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) headed by its chairman and the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan, Baroness Emma Nicholson.

The two officials discussed strengthening bilateral trade relations between the Kurdistan Region and the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister outlined the government’s plans to modernise the Kurdistan Region’s economy, including through increasing local production and export levels and building up capacity in the service industry.

The Prime Minister highlighted the government’s commitment to working with partners such as the Iraq Britain Business Council to develop the Kurdistan Region into a preferred destination for investors.

Baroness Nicholson expressed the UK’s support for the Kurdistan Regional Government’s plans to diversify its economy and expand its sources of revenue, especially through the new government’s focus on transforming the agriculture and industry sectors.

(Source: KRG)

Baroness Nicholson and IBBC host Deputy speaker to Iraqi parliament and MP’s to discuss business in Iraq.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) hosted a meeting in the Houses of Parliament with Mr Bashar Tawfeeq the Deputy Speaker, Mr Gates Alrikabi in the State of Law block, Mr Hussein Almaliky a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and Mr Ahmed Alsaffar from the Kurdish Democratic Party and member of the finance committee.

Topics for discussion included; the state of Iraqi protests, the overall safety of the country and the reasons behind them. This included the need for jobs, political reform and frustration among young people.  With this, Parliament is now keen to speed up change and implement business reforms.

Mr Tawfeeq made a major call for business and investment to come to Iraq, from IBBC members and British business in general. He stated how welcome the British are in Iraq as our legacy from the C20th lives on in infrastructure and buildings, how tax and land can be very low and businesses that come will be very profitable.

He made a pledge to remove as many obstacles as possible to investment, including accelerating reforms to investors, provision of free land and to pay attention to any impediments British companies face.

Members of IBBC shared their concerns and observations on safety and transparency in Iraq, the dominance of the state sector and bureaucracy and the need to undertake banking easily and simply, to facilitate more business. Mr Tawfeeq said the Iraqi Parliament will always investigate concerns and is aware that reform needs to be speeded up.

Baroness Nicholson also expressed the need to enable more women to participate in employment without threat, as most modern economies rely on all the talents in a country to be successful.

(Source: IBBC)

By John Lee.

An Iraqi parliamentary delegation headed by Dr. Bashir Khalil Al-Haddad met in London last week with Baroness Emma Nicholson, President of the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).

In discussion with members of the Council, they exchanged views on the expansion of foreign investment in Iraq, as well as further cooperation between Iraqi and British private sector companies.

(Source: Iraqi Parliament)

On Tuesday 1st October the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was pleased to host a roundtable discussion chaired by IBBC President Baroness Nicholson with His Excellency, Chief Justice Faiq Zidan, who was visiting the United Kingdom as guest of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The meeting was attended by several IBBC member representatives including from Constellis, G4S Secure Solutions, Harcus Sinclair, Mosul University, Protechnique, PWC SPS and Unihouse Global.

Chief Justice Zidan introduced himself and summarised his career, which began in 1991 as a lawyer in Baghdad. He was appointed as a judge in Baghdad’s Civil Courts and Criminal Courts in 1999 and then Chief of the Central Investigative Court responsible for Combating Terrorism and Important Crimes in 2005. In 2012, Faiq was appointed to the Federal Court of Cassation as Vice-Chief in 2014 and in 2016 as Chief, a position he still holds today. He was appointed President of the Supreme Judicial Council in January 2017.

Christophe Michels, managing director of IBBC, gave a summary of the history of IBBC in Iraq, the make-up of its current membership and the many events and activities currently being organised in Iraq, Dubai and the UK.

Members reported on current legal and judicial challenges they face when operating in Iraq. His Excellency confirmed he was familiar with many of these issues and undertook to review them on his return to Iraq. He said he would be particularly interested in any legal or judicial interpretations that could discourage foreign investment.

Chief Justice Zidan further encouraged IBBC and its members to organise more encounters with Judges from Iraq and to also increase its exchanges with the Iraqi Parliament, a suggestion much welcomed by the IBBC management and members present.

(Source: IBBC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was pleased to be an official partner of Chatham House’s “Iraq in Transition” conference on the 2nd and 3rd October. The event was held by the Chatham House Iraq Initiative, led by Dr Renad Mansour.

On Thursday the 3rd of October the President of IBBC, Baroness Nicholson, chaired a working group on private sector development. The working group also consisted of a speech by Zaid Elyaseri, country Manager of IBBC Founder Member BP.

This first Chatham House Iraq Initiative conference was a huge success and well attended by the private sector, NGOs, universities, Iraqi and British Government officials, the media and representatives of the UN and the EU. IBBC was delighted that one of their member companies Crescent Petroleum, was the main sponsor of the event and to see so many of its members and members of the IBBC Young Executive Network attending.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/event/iraq-transition

https://www.chathamhouse.org/about/structure/mena-programme/iraq-initiative-project

(Source: IBBC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held a reception at UK onservative party conference to celebrate 10 years working in Iraq.

Led by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne , President of IBBC and Trade Envoy to Iraq, a number of members including BP and Tratos were welcomed to the well attended event.

Dino Bossi director at G4S risk spoke movingly of the sacrifice he and his soldiers made in Iraq 2004 to ensure stability and his delight at seeing Iraq recover and rebuild to the present day.

Alan Woods from Rolls Royce also spoke about the Royce room we held the reception in as the room Rolls Royce was conceived in 1904.

Baroness Nicholson spoke of the British company members who represent the highest of international standards in business, product, training and employment that are deployed in Iraq.

She also welcomed Andrew Rosindell MP chair of the Appg for Iraq who spoke of the amazing development of IBBC in the last 10 years. He was joined by the ambassador for Taiwan.

Liam Fox MP and former DIT Secretary of State also joined the event along with business associates and Iraqi members of the Conservative party.

(Source: IBBC)

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) was delighted to host H.E. Dr Abdullah Luaibi the Iraqi Minister of Transport in London today.

The Minister, accompanied by a delegation of officials, was on a 4 day official visit to the United Kingdom organised by the Department of International Trade.

His visit included meetings with IBBC Members Rolls-Royce and Serco, and a number of bilateral meetings with the British Government. UK companies play a leading role in aviation in Iraq and the Ministers visit cemented the existing ties while exploring new ventures.

By courtesy of Brigadier James Ellery and thanks to the generous sponsorship of Vitol, IBBC was fortunate to offer the Minister and his delegation Lunch together with about 20 IBBC Members and guests at the Cavalry and Guards Club on Piccadilly.

Members in attendance included representatives of Serco, Zaha Hadid Architects, Menzies Aviation, G4S, Al Burhan Group, Basra Gateway Terminal, HWH & Associate, Eversheds Sutherland, Stirling Education and Constellis.

Delegates at the Lunch were addressed by Baroness Nicholson, IBBC President and the Prime Ministers Trade Envoy for Iraq, and of course the Minister who expressed his great satisfaction about his visit and working so closely with the UK Government, UK businesses and the IBBC.

He also made it clear that establishing regular direct return flights between London and Baghdad was one of his top priorities and that he was looking at upgrading some of the major Iraqi transport infrastructure during his tenure.

IBBC’s Managing Director Christophe Michels commented:

Minister Luaibi has been a staunch supporter of IBBC members in Iraq over some years now, first as Deputy Minister and now as Minister. His office door in Baghdad is always open to us and I am pleased to say that UK companies lead the way in airport security, ground handling and air traffic control.

“Now we are looking forward for Rolls-Royce to work with Iraqi Airways and for one of the great UK architects and design companies to work on an new airport project in country.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org

(Source: IBBC)