Monday, April 13, 2009

Fair in Iraqi holy city draws Turkish traders - AFP

Representatives from more than 60 Turkish companies gathered in Iraq's shrine city Najaf on Monday for a trade fair aimed at drawing foreign investment back to the war-torn country.

The exhibition, organised by the Turkish Chamber of Commerce and the Iraqi Exhibitions Company brought about 100 Turkish business leaders to a hall in the holy Shiite city's main market, according to organisers.

"The goal of holding this exhibition is to attract Turkish investment to Iraq," said organiser Emad al-Rubaie.

"More than 60 companies are attending, especially manufacturers of medium and heavy machinery, including electrical power plant."

Traders were expecting not only to sell their products but to set up investment deals with Iraqi companies.

One of the Turkish businessmen who attended was Ali Gugman, who makes wheelchairs and expressed strong interest in the Iraqi market.

"Our company is interested in meeting the needs of the disabled and the elderly with wheelchairs that will lessen the impact of their disabilities," he said.

Najaf has seen several exhibitions in recent months including a gathering of Iranian industrialists and Rubaie said he intends to organise similar events in the coming months in Baghdad, Basra, and Karbala.

Although security has improved dramatically in Iraq over the past two years the country is struggling economically because of low oil prices and the extensive damage to infrastructure left by decades of war and sanctions.

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