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Cablegate: Got Urges Greater U.S. Involvement in Next Year's

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FM AMCONSUL ADANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4655
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHINGTON DC
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RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0129
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 1019
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1259

UNCLAS ADANA 000021

SENSITIVE
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EEB FOR A/S DAN SULLIVAN
USDOC FOR DAS PAUL DYCK
PRT BABIL FOR DON WELTY
PRT NAJAF FOR DARREL BROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON PREL TU IZ
SUBJECT: GOT URGES GREATER U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN NEXT YEAR'S
TURKEY-IRAQ TRADE FAIR

REF: ANKARA 850

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The 3rd Iraqi International Trade Fair
kicked off in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep on May
22. According to organizers, over 400 local and foreign
exhibitors from 32 countries were present at the four-day event.
High-ranking Turkish and Iraqi officials in attendance told us
they regard this fair as the major annual event highlighting the
burgeoning bilateral trade relationship, which is forecast to
top $5 billion in 2009. U.S. Consulate Adana took the lead in
setting up and staffing the U.S. Mission booth.
2. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Since the USG has a strong interest
in fostering closer Turkish-Iraqi relations, Mission Turkey
strongly recommends enhancing U.S. official participation at
this event in 2009 and encouraging more American private-sector
participation. END ACTION REQUEST AND SUMMARY.
3. (U) On May 22, Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen and
three Iraqi officials -- Trade Minister Abdulfalah Hassan
Al-Sudani, Construction and Housing Minister Byan Dzayee and
Water Resources Minister Abdul Latif Rashid - presided over the
opening of the 3rd Iraqi International Fair in Gaziantep.
Turkey's Special Envoy to Iraq Murat Ozcelik and other
high-ranking officials also joined the ceremony. In his opening
remarks, Tuzmen said he hoped the fair would help boost annual
Turkish-Iraqi trade from $3.5 billion to $5 billion next year.
At a joint press conference, Al-Sudani recommended opening two
additional border gates to increase trade volume and strengthen
Turkish-Iraqi relations. During the same press event, Tuzmen
referred to the hardships faced by Turkish companies due to
Iraqi arrears; he also said he was sanguine about timely
repayment prospects.
4. (SBU) Other diplomatic missions represented at the fair
included Romania, Iran, Poland, Italy, and China. China's
private sector had a strong presence at the fair; with over 15
exhibitors, they along with the Iraqis had the densest
representation. Chinese medicines, timber products, wine
wholesalers, organic agriculture representatives, engineering
products and others were on display. According to the press,
over the four-day fair a total of 52,000 visitors passed through
the exhibit hall.

5. (SBU) U.S. Consulate Adana decorated and staffed a booth
from which we distributed materials on U.S. foreign commercial
activities, American history and culture, visas, and study in
the United States. PRT officers from Najaf and al-Hillah
supported participation by the chambers of commerce from those
cities. (Comment: visitors had mixed reactions to the U.S.
Mission booth during the fair: many took the opportunity to
take a swipe at U.S. policy in Iraq, and some were downright
hostile. Since most inquiries to the U.S. stand concerned doing
business in Iraq, it would be helpful next year to have
representatives from FCS in Iraq on hand to support our presence
at the fair. End comment.)

6. (SBU) Both GOT and GOI repesentatives expressed an interest
in having high-level USG participation at the event. This year,
the GOT had invited the Secretary of Commerce and Ambassador
Wilson, but without sufficient lead time. In a brief pull-aside
at the opening ceremony, Tuzman told the Adana PO that the GOT
wants enhanced American participation next year. Turkey's
interest in a strong U.S. role at this fair and on Iraq business
opportunities generally was a prominent theme at the U.S.-Turkey
Economic Partnership Commission meeting April 17 in Washington.
The Iraqi Trade minister, Abdul Al-Sudani, concurred, noting
that while there are numerous privately sponsored Iraq trade
fairs, including one in Jordan widely attended by American
companies, the Gaziantep fair is the only fair outside Iraq that
the GOI officially sponsors and for that reason it wants a more
significant American presence. There were no known American
exhibitors at the fair this year.

GREEN

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