Business secretary is joined by 23 companies to meet top Iraqi ministers

Peter Mandelson, the business secretary, arrived in Iraq today along with a group of UK construction companies. Plans for the trade mission were first revealed in Building in March.

Lord Mandelson will be accompanied by 23 companies including Amec, Benoy, Carillion, Fosters, Foster Wheeler Energy Halcrow, Hyder Consulting, Kier, Scot Wilson, Mott McDonald. They will meet prime minister Maliki and Iraq ministers for trade, industry and minerals; transport; water; finance; health; planning; electricity; oil and gas and the National Investment Committee.

The delegation will also meet the governor of Basra and hold discussions with the Basra Investment Commission.

Mandelson said: “Business expertise and skills can play an important role in the development of the Iraq economy and the UK government will do all it can to make a positive contribution to the economic future of Iraq".

The delegation will also visit Bahrain, Kuwait, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where they will meet will meet senior government officials and company executives. The three day mission, which began yesterday, is aimed at encouraging British firms to do business in the Middle East. The group will spend one day in Iraq.

Lord Mandelson said: "One of the great strengths of British business is its ability to seek out new markets in increasingly linked global economy. By sending such senior representatives, companies have underlined the importance that both the British government and British business place in the region".

Other companies on the trip include HSBC, Standard Chartered, GlaxoSmithKline, Pinsent Masons, Deutsche Land Management and Serco Group.