This year´s Business Forum Iraq, organized by EMA, concentrated on an intensive exchange, networking and information gathering at firsthand. The aim was achieved after a well-attended first day full of discussion in the Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry. With an atractive framework program, at the next day, the German-Iraqi exchange in Nuremberg ended successfully. Partners of the forum, beside the Iraqi Embassy to Berlin, were the Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as the Center for Iraq Studies of the University Erlangen Nürnberg.
The Forum was opened by Markus Lötzsch, president of the Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He emphasized the tremendous potential of the Iraqi economy for German entrepreneurs in attractive, growing sectors such as automation, petro chemistry and environmental technology. The Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Berlin, H. E. Dr. Hussein Fadhlallah Alkhateeb elucidated the intentions of the Iraqi government towards a strong cooperation with Germany, as well as the demand for German expertise and knowhow. Dr. Layadi, Secretary General of EMA, denoted the conference as starting signal for a close future cooperation with the Nuremberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry and construed the, for the fourth time organized Business Forum Iraq, as active contribution to the sensitization of the German economy and industry for the challenging reconstruction of Iraq.
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In his speech, Hashim Mohamed Hatim, Director General of the Iraqi ministry of commerce, invited German companies to directly get involved in the Iraqi economy. Therefore, the ministry of commerce in cooperation with Iraqi embassies provides a variety of tenders for projects in Iraq. Amer Essa Al-Jewahiri, expert of the UNIDO Program Iraq, illustrated different challenges and supportive projects for economic stabilization and strengthening of the country. Last but not least, Prof. Dr. Sefik Alp Bahadir, head of the Center for Iraq Studies at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, commented on the situation of Iraq from a scientific perspective. Subsequently, he was awarded the honorary membership of EMA for his decades-long effort for strengthening the German-Arab relations.
Panel I: Doing Business in Iraq
The first panel focused on investment opportunities in Iraq and its framework conditions. Adnan Marza Marsook Al-Ramahi, legal advisor of the National Investment Commission of Iraq, emphasized the demand of investments in his country and the therefore granted advantages for foreign investors. René Kienast, Euler Hermes AG, explained the important issue of risk coverage for investments in Iraq on the part of the German government. It enables enterprises a higher planning security and an inferior default risk. Adeeb Noaman Abdul Aziz, board member of Anbar Invest, outlined the setup of German-Iraqi economic relations within the frame of the Iraqi investment law. The positioning of Iraq in the global competition as well as possibilities for foreign direct investments were approached by Stephan Franken, general manager of gADmore! GmbH. Dr. Stephan Jäger, Amereller Rechtsanwälte, gave a lecture on legal framework conditions for business activities in Iraq.
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Panel II: Intersectional Business Experience
The contributors of the 2nd panel provided an inside into the experiences of their enterprises: Dusan Pokorny, CFS Iraq, and also Alexander Vonscheidt, HT Labor + Hospitaltechnik AG, gave impressions on the German-Iraqi cooperation and German projects in Iraq. Christian Haas, AKE | SKABE, granted insight into the current security situation in different regions of Iraq as well as possibilities of reducing the danger potential of one´s employees.
Panel III: Future of the Iraqi-German Business Relations
At the end, a prospect on future German-Iraqi business relations was drawn. H.E. Dr. Alkhateeb stressed the necessity of a science and technology transfer for the further development of his country. In his view, especially Germany with around 133,000 Iraqis could play the leading role. Dr. Jäger pointed out that German enterprises investing in Iraq come across unfamiliar legal situations. Particularly communication problems on both sides have to be removed in order to blaze the trail for investments. All involved were in agreement about the fact that Germany can play the decisive role in the development of Iraq. Especially in the education sector, huge potential oft he German Goverment is left unexploited.
With an excellent gala dinner and further inspiring conversations the first day of the conference successfully came to an end.
On the following day, a company site visit of HT Labor+ Hospitaltechnik AG was taking place. The medium sized enterprise produces operation theatres and high security laboratories for hospitals and scientific facilities around the world. The participants gained a very interesting insight into the production processes and practical use f modern operation theatres.
With a charming city tour, granting diverse views into the history of the city of Nuremberg, the program of the 4th Business Forum Iraq was rounded off.