The Iraqi Trade ministry plans to increase the number of trade exhibits in a bid to boost economic co-operation between Iraq and other countries, officials told Mawtani.
Following the 40th Baghdad International Fair, which was held in October and saw the participation of about 700 local, Arab, and international companies, fair officials announced they are planning specialised exhibitions throughout the coming year.
"At least 10 exhibitions will be held in collaboration with ministries and other government bodies," Sadeq Hussein Sultan, general director of the Ministry's State Company for Fairs and Commercial Services, told Mawtani.
"The most significant of these will be the Defence and Security Fair -- scheduled for March in co-ordination with the Ministry of Interior and security agencies, the Oil, Gas, and Energy exhibition, and one for agricultural products," he said.
The ministry also will organise fairs focusing on housing, construction, building materials, medical and healthcare equipment, tourism and automobiles, as well as books and publications, Sultan said.
The company's plans for next year will expand the Baghdad International Fair activities beyond the capital to include various provinces, such as Karbala, Maysan, al-Diwaniyah, Dhi Qar, Basra, as well as in the Kurdish region, he added.
The company seeks to attract solid, internationally well-known firms to display and offer their products and services before government institutions, for the purpose of boosting national development projects and improving the country's infrastructure, Sultan said.
Iraqi private sector companies also will be present at these exhibitions to boost the participation of this sector in the process of building and reconstruction, he said, adding that this will help create important opportunities for partnerships between the private and public sectors and local governments.
Fairs will "open up new horizons for economic co-operation between Iraq and other countries, which would help the country in meeting its development needs, keeping up with technological progress and strengthening investment and trade exchange", Sultan said.
An essential economic activity
Amer al-Faez, member of the parliamentary committee on economy and investment, told Mawtani he welcomes and supports the goal of holding more general and specialised trade exhibitions.
Fairs are considered one of the essential economic activities which enhance and build bridges and bilateral ties of co-operation between countries, he said. They also provide host countries with a window through which they can become familiar with the latest technologies and innovations, and boost trade.
"Iraq needs to organise and expand such activities in view of their key role in developing the country's capacities and resources, as well as rebuilding its infrastructure and its vital and services sectors," al-Faez said.
"Organising this number of trade exhibitions represents a positive effort which would serve the projects and programmes Iraq seeks to implement under its strategic development plans," economic expert Majid al-Soury told Mawtani.
"Iraq's market is considered a promising market, and there is interest on the part of foreign companies to open up towards it and conclude memoranda for partnership and co-operation with various government firms and institutions," he said.