The Alliance for International Meetings & Commerce (AIMC) met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and other high-ranking Iraqi officials in December to kick off an effort that it hopes will lead to business development conferences to help promote business in Iraq.
The meeting was part of an event sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the U.S. Business Council in Iraq.
“Members of AIMC have an extensive base of knowledge on international commerce in a wide range of industries,” said AIMC Chairman Bill Hudson, who is also president and CEO of the Global Cold Chain Alliance, a group that is very active in international business development. “Of course they are also skilled in planning international events. So we believe AIMC is the perfect partner to hold a series of business conferences to help jump-start the business potential that the nation has.”
“We applaud the Iraqi government for reaching out through its U.S. connections to explore ways to advance their business community,” said Jack Sammis, AIMC President & CEO. “The business development conferences we discussed are good initial steps to making this happen.”
The meeting also included Lionel Johnson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce vice president for Middle East & North Africa Affairs; Thomas Nides, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources; Dr. Sami Al Araji, chairman of the Iraqi national Investment Commission; Dr. Khairallah Babaker Zebari, Iraqi Minister of Trade; David Chavern, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and chief operating officer, as well as representatives of the U.S. Business Council of Iraq.
Hudson also said the effort “speaks to both the ‘commerce’ and ‘meetings’ parts of the AIMC mission. Iraq needs a group with expertise in these areas and the connections to make things happen, so we said, why not AIMC?”
AIMC is developing business in Iraq together with GSI Business Services Inc., a Maryland-based company with its primary activities in Iraq. In a brief discussion that included Gaynelle Sahlmann, GSI managing director, Dr. Sami Al Araji offered his full support to AIMC’s approach together with GSI.
He welcomed this initiative to establish a series of first-class conferences, workshops and exhibitions with a focus on bringing U.S. and international businesses and experts of many industrial sectors into the country. “The time to do this is now,” Sami pointed out.