Kurdistan Regional Government


Canadian Minister opens Trade Representation Office in Erbil

Erbil, Kurdistan Region – Iraq (KRG.ORG) – Canada’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular Services, Lynne Yelich, along with Canadian Ambassador to Iraq, Bruno Saccomani, and an accompanying delegation visited the Kurdistan Region this week to open Canada’s Trade Representation Office in Erbil.

This was the first visit to the region by a Canadian minister. Minister Yelich met with the President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, the Head of Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, the Minister of Natural Resources, Ashti Hawrami, Minister of Planning Ali Sindi and the Minister of Construction and Housing who is also the Acting Chairman of the Board of Investment, Kamaran Ahmed.

A delegation comprising several Canadian companies accompanied the official delegation on their visit and participated alongside their Kurdish counterparts in the first Economic Forum between Kurdistan and Canada. At a reception at the end of the Forum the opening of the Canadian Trade Representation was announced with both Minister Yelich and Minister Mustafa speaking about the importance of this step in terms of establishing bilateral relations which benefit both sides.

During the meeting with President Barzani, both sides discussed a number of issues facing Iraq and the Middle East, including the current situation in Syria and the impact of the humanitarian crisis on Kurdistan given the influx of refugees. In addition to discussing oil and gas, education and other areas of cooperation, the President highlighted the need for cooperation in the agriculture sector.

The Canadian delegation also met with Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, where Minister Yelich said that she was impressed with the level of progress in Kurdistan. She expressed her hope that the opening of the Trade Representation would result in the expansion of bilateral relations across many sectors.

Minister Yelich and delegation also visited the Department of Foreign Relations where Minister Mustafa briefed them about the opportunities in the region, highlighting specific areas where Canadian expertise can be utilised. He said, ‘We want to develop a relationship which focuses on the areas of need such as agriculture, tourism, industry, education and infrastructure.’

Minister Yelich said she was pleased to visit Kurdistan and hoped to build on the work that Canada has already started given the number of opportunities available. She said, ‘There is so much I see in common with Canada here and what you have achieved in the last ten years is impressive.’

Also during the visit, the delegation visited the Citadel and the textile museum where the Governor of Erbil, Nawzad Hadi briefed the Minister and the delegation on its history and outlined the restoration work on the historic site. 

Commenting on the significance of the visit, Minister Mustafa said Iraq and Kurdistan can learn much from Canada's federal form of government, such as the separation of federal and regional powers which could help Iraq to truly function as a federal state in adherence to its constitution.