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Iraq's Kurdistan wants further Chinese investment

Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan expected to attract more Chinese firms, Governor of Arbil province Nawzad Hadi told Xinhua in an interview on Thursday.

"The Chinese firms have made a presence in the Kurdistan region and we do wish to attract more Chinese firms here," he said, adding that "we know that China has enormous economic and productive share in the world economy and has great potentials."

He said that the Kurdish region is open to the world, which is a great opportunity for the Chinese businesses to take part in rebuilding Iraq, adding that Arbil can be the gateway to the Iraqi market.

"The Chinese firms can have their headquarters and main offices in Kurdistan, a safe and secure area, and from here they can expand their activities to other provinces," Hadi said.

Hadi also hailed the opening of Chinese consulate in Arbil, saying that "it was a great initiative that will have a very positive role to promote trade, economic, cultural, political and social relations between the Kurdistan region and China."

The economic situation in Kurdish region was deeply affected by terrorist attacks by the Islamic State (IS) militant group and financial tug of war between Baghdad and Arbil, which led to the halt of paying the region's share of the overall budget.

The Kurdish official reassured the resolution of the Kurdish government and its people in their fight against the IS.

"The Peshmerga (Kurdish security forces) and the people of Kurdistan are fighting terrorist organization of Daash from Kobane (Ayn al-Arab) to Jalawlaa along a frontline of more than 1,500 km," he said.

In August, the IS extremist group launched attacks on towns and villages near the Arbil and other Kurdish provinces, pushing the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to fight back the militants under the cover of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition.

The Kurdish troops repelled the IS militants from many areas, but they are still fighting fierce clashes in the provinces of Nineveh, Kirkuk and Diyala.

Besides the terrorist attacks, the Kurdistan also has to face such key obstacles as the decline of the crude oil prices in the world markets and driving terror groups away from Iraq.

"But we are determined to make progress and to rejuvenate the economy of Kurdistan region," he said.

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