Emerging opportunities for Indian businessmen as TPCI organizes a successful BSM in 4 cities in Iraq
Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala and Erbil were the 4 destination points for Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) to hold BSM meetings of Indian company representatives with prominent buyers from Iraq. The event, executed by the Indian Embassy in Iraq, was also a confidence building exercise for Indian exporters, many of whom quit doing business with Iraq when the country went into turmoil post 2002. H.E. Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit, India’s Ambassador to Iraq ably assisted by Mr. Rajinder Kumar, Commercial Attache in the Indian Embassy in Iraq, orchestrated the proceedings including arranging meetings with Senior Officials, Trade bodies and Ministries.
The four-day business delegation met prominent businessmen and interacted with Trade bodies in each of the four cities besides getting a chance to meet the Hon’ble Minister of Trade in the Iraqi government HE Mr. Mohammed Hashim Al Ani, in the company of Senior Officials of Ministry of Trade and of Foreign Economic Relations Department of Iraq. It was the first delegation of its type that visited Iraq since 2003.
During the interactive session that followed, the Hon’ble Minister assured of his best cooperation to enhance bilateral trade between India and Iraq.
The delegation comprised of more than 30 representatives from Companies dealing in various different commodities.
While Chaizup Beverages LLP, Es Pee International, Swiss Singapore India Pvt. Ltd., McLeod Russel India Ltd., Team United Marketing Pvt. Ltd. and Indian Tea Association representative Sujit Patra belonged to the Tea industry, DP Chocolates, DP Cocoa Products LLP and DP Chocolates represented Confectionary Industry. Shellz Overseas Pvt. Ltd. also dealt in Confectionary besides sugar and juices. Delegation comprised of PCL Foods, Bhole Nath Foods Ltd. and Veer Overseas Ltd. dealing in Rice and Grow Global, India Global Foods Pvt. Ltd. and Agro Crop dealing primarily in Rice, Spices, Ready to Eat Food and other Grains. Shri Hari industries took Sesame Seeds and Basil Seeds to export while Indian Garden was looking for buyers dealing in fresh fruits and vegetables.
During the subsequent meetings with DG-Food Stuffs Eng. Kassim H. Mansoor and with Iraqi Indian Economic Cooperation Council, Iraqi Indian Business Council and Federation of Iraqi Chamber of Commerce, certain key points related to furtherance of trade and commerce between Iraq and India were discussed. This was followed by a meeting with Mr. Bahaa Hameed Abdulridha, GM and his team at Noor Alkafeel Company in Karbala. In Najaf, the TPCI delegation got a chance to interact with Najaf Chamber of Commerce while in Erbil they had an interaction with Salahaddin Investment Company.
A remarkable policy change that was discussed was that the tenders floated till date by the Grain Board of Iraq for rice were of quantity of 30000 tons which was a hindrance to small players. Moreover, the date for finalization of tender was always over one month before and with rice price fluctuating on daily basis, it was not possible to quote so much in advance. It was suggested that the timeline be reduced to the extent possible and the quantity of purchase be reduced. Eng. Kassim Mansoor took an immediate decision by assuring that the tenders would be open only a week after announcement and would consider that quantity of 30,000 tons be distributed between at least 3 players to ensure surety of supply.
This first delegation visit to Iraq after 2002 thus turned out to be a very productive one. Apart from acting as a confidence building exercise between Indian sellers and Iraqi buyers, it greatly changed the perception of Iraq market and brought to focus the existing bottlenecks, including lack of direct banking and sea route as top concerns. All the 30-odd members of the delegation were greatly pleased that the Iraq trip gave them an opportunity to re-enter this emerging market of Food & Beverage.
The feedback by some of the delegates from representing companies showed they found immense business opportunity in the new Iraq and were overall appreciative of TPCI and Indian embassy’s efforts to create better business opportunities for Indian companies. Present here are some of the observations:
Sanjib Das, Swiss Singapore (I) Pvt Ltd.
Overall good experience in Baghdad. Also got good exposure in the wholesale market in Najaf. The support from the Embassy as well as TPCI was outstanding though more tea buyers would have been welcome.
Prakash Patel, Shri Hari Industries
First time in my life, I had such a good experience while indulging in B2B meetings. It was an excellent experience dealing with the Kurdish people who are good.
Vishal Goel, Indies Global Foods Pvt. Ltd.
Got very good support from the Indian embassy especially Rajpurohit ji who was with us for the entire tour carrying Indian flag and promoting Indian business community. TPCI is putting great efforts in providing opportunities to Indian business houses. Mr. Ashok Sethi’s role is remarkable as he drives and promotes opportunities for all of us. Erbil was a great opportunity for us. We are awaiting response to the Minister of Trade’s promise that he will get us associated with right partner for business.
Rakesh Kumar, Bholenath Foods Ltd.
It was a good effort by the Indian Ambassador to Iraq and the TPCI team who supported us by making us meet with the big buyers from Iraq. We are sure to get business from this country.
Indian foreign trade minister should advise Iraq to have a better banking system in place, like we have with Iran.
Laxmikant Taunk, Chaizup Beverages
Well organized and well-planned trip by TPCI and their team comprising of Mr. Ashok Sethi and Mr. Fraz Khan. Excellent support by Indian embassy and team too. I am sure I will have good business in Iraq.
Shiv K Batra, Veer Overseas Ltd.
Great effort put up by TPCI and the Indian embassy in organizing this trip. It was comfortable and informative trip, though hectic. Could have been better if we had stayed for two full days at each destination.
Sandeep Khaitan, Team United Marketing (P) Ltd.
A splendid effort by TPCI to organize the trip. The trip was well organized though very hectic. A great support by the Embassy of India without which it would have been difficult to manage the show.
Iraq is a big market for our products i.e. tea but our share has gone down from 15 million in 2003 to 2 million in 2017. It was a good opportunity for us to understand the market, discuss with buyers for their requirements and tastes. We look forward to be part of future TPCI events related to food products, especially tea.
Himadri Mandal, Grow Global
B2B was good in Baghdad, Najaf and Erbil though in Baghdad it could have been better if more spices buyers were present. But it was a great opportunity to meet rice buyers. Visit to the wholesale market in Najaf showed the actual scenario. I wish to be a member of TPCI and want to participate in all future events.
Amit Tibrewal, Espee International
A good initiative by TPCI for giving a stage to Indian companies in Iraq! It will change the perception of Indian businessmen towards Iraq for the better and open doors for greater opportunity.
PV Shyam, DP Chocolates
The whole show was really good and well-organized. Would suggest to have more BSM related to focused categories. Overall, TPCI has done a good job.
Shalivahan Prabhudesai, Agrocorp-Singapore
I thank you for giving me opportunity to join this trip to Iraq. Kudos to the Embassy staff for their efforts! Had very fruitful meetings with the Indian-Iraqi Trade Council and their members. While meeting the Baghdadi group too, we saw good opportunity to take discussions to next stage.
Chaudhry Mohammad Sabaul, Shellz Overseas Pvt. Ltd.
I am thankful to TPCI who has managed and organized a wonderful business interaction between Indian and Iraqi trade persons. We believe this Indo-Iraq trade interaction will definitely give us great benefit. I am thankful to the TPCI team and also theIndian Consulate Mr. Rajvir Rajpurohit for their hard efforts in managing a wonderful trip. The TPCI is a great organization that has taken this initiative for the benefit of our country and the Indian entrepreneurs. I request TPCI to keep Shellz Overseas informed of various global business promotional events.