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Grain Exports To Iraq May Suffer In Wake Of New Appointment Ashok B Sharma New Delhi, June 1: Indian exporters of food items are not very optimistic about the future of exports to Iraq. The appointment of the former Cargill senior executive Dan Amstutz, in-charge of agricultural reconstruction in Iraq is being viewed as a strategy to allows imports only from US and its allies. Mr Amstutz also had earlier served the Reagan Administration as a trade negotiator in the Uruguay round of the world trade talks. Oxfam has already reacted to Mr Amstutz’s appointment and has expressed concern over the promotion of US interests in Iraq. Oxfam’s policy director, Kevin Watkins has said “putting Dan Amstutz in charge of agricultural reconstruction in Iraq is like putting Saddam Hussein in the chair of a human rights commission. This guy is uniquely well-placed to advance the commercial interests of American grain companies and bust open the Iraqi market - but singularly ill-equipped to lead a reconstruction effort in a developing country.” Though the UN-Food-For-Oil Programme which expires on June 1 has been extended for another six months, the Indian exporters are still vary about the situation. Speaking to FE, Mr Raj Kumar Jain of Priyanka Overseas said: “chances of exporting food items to Iraq seems bleak at least for the next three months. The Americans have found a warehouse in Iraq where the earlier Saddam administration has stored over one million tonnes of wheat. Over and above, there has been a bumper wheat crop in Iraq, this year. In this situation, it may not be possible to export wheat to Iraq.” Mr Jain said that that so far 15 contract bids have been floated for imports of various commodities needed, out of which three contract bids are for import of wheat and two for import of tea. He said that it is most likely that the wheat contracts may be bagged by either US or Australian firms. He regretted that Indian exports have become costlier in a situation of the Indian currency strengthening against the US dollar. Earlier when one US dollar was equal to Rs 49, the exports were lucrative, but today the one US dollar is equal to Rs 46.80 and this situation has made exports costlier. In addition, the government has hiked the prices of grains to be sold to exporters from its warehouses by about Rs 600 per tonne on an average. http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=35437 _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk