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12 Nov, 2008 03:40

Iraq touts for business at trade fair

War-torn Iraq is inviting both Arab and western companies to Baghdad to take part in a five-day exhibition devoted to trade and business.

Eager to attract companies from abroad, Iraq’s Minister of Industry, Fawzi Hariri, said the country was “open to dialogue”.

“The Council of Ministers is ready to interact with all the Western companies to help bring them to the Iraqi market,” he said.

Communication, construction and investment firms searching for new market opportunities will see what Iraq has to offer as the country tries to emerge economically after the US invasion in 2003.

Baghdad remains extremely volatile. Already this week there have been two major explosions, including a synchronised triple-bombing on Monday which claimed 28 lives.

The constant threat of bombings has concerned some who feel that signing the security treaty should be the top priority at the moment. As one citizen pointed out, “The timing of the exhibition is really bad. We have lots of other problems like signing the security treaty. They're just not urgent enough. It’s still dangerous out there in the streets.”

However, the business fair is seen by many as a sign of greater stability in the region.

Iraqi General Qassim Atta said the fair “is a sign that there is stability and security in the country.” 

He added that it was: “a sign of victory and unity for our forces. Our security agencies have been very successful in preparations for this event.”

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