In a move aimed at strengthening economic ties, Turkey’s Independent Industrialists and Businessmen Association (MUSIAD), a distinguished and influential chamber of commerce, recently opened a branch in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). This event signifies a shared commitment to enhancing relations and boosting trade between Iraq and Turkey.
MUSIAD has forged a rich history since its establishment in 1990 and has consistently played a pivotal role in shaping Turkey’s economic landscape. The organization’s significant reach extends beyond Turkey, making it an influential bridge to the world. As the Erbil branch opens its doors, it offers new opportunities for the KRI while further bolstering MUSIAD’s economic and political influence in the region.
Mahmut Asmali, the President of MUSIAD
Mahmut Asmali, President of MUSIAD, highlighted on his official X (formerly known as Twitter) account the potential for the Erbil branch to serve as a vital conduit that deepens trade connections between Iraq and Turkey.
“We believe that our Erbil branch will serve as an important bridge for the trade of both countries,” said Asmali, extending his congratulations to Erbil Branch President Anwar Abdullah and the new board of directors and wishing them success in their work.
In an interview with Kurdistan Chronicle, Abdullah outlined his vision for MUSIAD’s role in Iraq, emphasizing the integration of local businessmen and industrialists into the International Business Forum (IBF), which can facilitate their participation in international forums and further enhance economic cooperation.
The inauguration of the Erbil branch was conducted under the direct supervision of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, with the participation of other key KRG ministers and officials. This high-level involvement underscores the KRG’s enthusiasm for this collaboration, demonstrating its commitment to fostering robust economic ties with Turkey and realizing mutual prosperity.
The launch ceremony of MUSIAD Erbil branch on September 27, 2023
The KRI has been a key partner for Turkish businesses, hosting 1,414 Turkish companies across various sectors. The Ibrahim Khalil international border crossing serves as a vital conduit for trade in food, clothing, construction materials, and oil.
The Erbil branch’s opening aims to boost economic collaboration, benefiting the KRI, Iraq, and Turkey. This expansion can foster economic growth and nurture increased domestic production, aligning with the KRG’s strategy to promote economic growth through exporting local products.
Kamal Muslim, KRG Minister of Trade and Industry, expressed optimism about the Erbil branch’s potential to strengthen trade relations and enhance economic cooperation between the two nations.
The opening of MUSIAD’s Erbil branch was greeted with hope and anticipation, reflecting the collective aspiration for a fruitful partnership.
Erbil’s strategic location as Iraq’s commercial hub plays a pivotal role in facilitating the transit of goods from Turkey to the rest of Iraq. The region’s stability, security, and enduring peace make it a reliable and preferred route for trade.
Sabr Salih is a journalist based in the Kurdistan Region.