Trade show touts Iraq's business potential
May 31, 2010
- Seventy-three companies attend Basra Iraq Trade Expo at Basra International Airport May 24 through 27
- The international trade exposition attracted many vendors interested in tapping into Iraq's potential as a large supplier of oil
BASRA, Iraq -- Just like the promise tied to the sea of oil that resides below Iraq's surface, the potential for building new industries in the country is great, yet remains untapped.
That potential is not lost on the vendors from 73 companies that attended the Basra Iraq Trade Expo, a four-day international trade exhibition held at the Basra International Airport May 24-27, 2010. And while oil didn't overshadow conversations, there is no question that petroleum-related industries will drive Iraq's economy going forward.
One exhibitor, Gemak Food Industry Machinery & Trading Co., based in Ankara, Turkey, produces stainless steel tanks that are used by dairy farms, chemical plants and petroleum truck companies. It is in Iraq's fledging oil industry that Gemak hopes to generate future sales.
International oil companies, working with the Iraqi government, are currently scouting viable drilling sites. Aktan Aydogmus, a sales representative for Gemak's foreign trade division, said Gemak is looking at the opportunity to outfit tanker trucks with 50,000-liter, steel containers to hold petroleum products.
"Turkey is a neighbor of Iraq and we follow their industries," he said.
Another area with potential for growth is Iraq's currently meager agricultural capacity.
As Iraq's economy begins to pick up the pace, Gemak sees an opportunity to provide dairy and fruit producers the equipment to pasteurize milk and juice. Because such markets have yet to flourish, the time for the company to establish itself as a supply source is now.
Not only does the Turkish manufacturer supply industrial containers, Gemak also sells the equipment, materials and know how to customers to produce their own container lines.
The vendors - and what they had to offer - varied greatly from food service items to kitchen wares to construction materials. The international companies represented such countries as Egypt, Germany and Turkey.
The event enticed not only company representatives, but local residents who walked around the displays, sampling local teas and carrying company brochures.
Atilim Fairs & Organization Co., based in Istanbul, Turkey, organized the event. Yasemin Bulbuloglu, a project manager with Atilim, said the exhibition company promoted the event through advertising on radio and billboards, as well as by emailing potential vendors.
The turnout, she said, was beyond their expectations.
For vendors such as Gemak, expectation was perhaps the key sentiment surrounding the event and what market opportunities lie ahead.
"I think we can do business in Iraq," Aydogmus said.