Iraq Trade & Investment Forum

Your Excellencies,
Under Secretary De Mistura,
Ambassador Melani,
Ministers Belloni and Bellelli,
Ambassador Balzani,
Distinguished Guests,

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the Iraq Trade Investment Forum and I would like to welcome the delegation of Iraqi institutional and entrepreneurial authorities who will present their country, their initiatives, and the large number of trade and investment opportunities that it offers.

I would like to express my gratitude to all the Italian institutions and associations that accepted the invitation to participate in this important event and that will have the opportunity, in the next sessions, to present their experiences and initiatives in Iraq.

I also would like to thank the colleagues of the UNIDO Iraq Programme for having organized this large Iraqi delegation, and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for hosting us here today, working in synergy to support the increasing cooperation between Italian companies and their counterparts in developing countries.

Companies increasingly act as a driving force for development and as a key tool for international cooperation, based on win-win strategies.

Today’s event takes place within this framework of cooperation, giving companies the possibility to meet, interact, and become familiar with the economic opportunities offered by small and medium enterprises of the Gulf country.

The number of participation requests that we have received is impressive, proving the interest that Italian stakeholders have toward Iraq. Around 400 business to business meetings have been organized and they will take place in this conference room during the afternoon session, while tomorrow the Iraqi delegation will visit important institutions and companies, which are Italian success examples in different sectors.

Before giving the floor to His Excellency the Ambassador of Iraq, Mr. Saywan Barzani, let me say a few more words to communicate that unfortunately, due to a sandstorm that has been raging over Baghdad since yesterday, His Excellency the Minister of Trade of Iraq, Mr. Khairullah Hasan Babakr, cannot be here with us today. Nevertheless, we hope that in the next few hours he will be able to arrive and participate in the scheduled institutional meetings.