Belfast Telegraph

Kurdistan open for Ulster business as Foster extends Middle East hub

By Clare Weir

A new Invest NI office has been opened in the Middle East.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster cut the ribbon on the facility in Erbil, Kurdistan, which will provide in-market support to Northern Ireland companies seeking to do business in the region.

Minister Foster said that she hoped that the hub would emulate the successes of other Invest NI bases across the world.

"Having a dedicated team on the ground in Kurdistan will further enhance the support network we have available to help Northern Ireland businesses build contacts in the region," she said.

"Increasing our overseas presence is an important part of our Economic Strategy, which supports the significant export-led growth targets in the Programme for Government.

"The opening of the Kurdistan office is an additional element offered by Invest Northern Ireland in the Middle East, following the development of our business hub in Dubai and the opening of our office in Jeddah last year."

While in Kurdistan, the Minister also met with the President of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, before jointly signing a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen trade links between Northern Ireland and Kurdistan with Head of Foreign Affairs Falah Mustafa.

During her visit, Ms Foster also met with Kurdistan's Minister of Higher Education, Dr Ali Saeed and Minister of Trade and Industry Sinan Chalabi.