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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Jordan Times 12th September 2003 Iraq to buy part of its wheat needs from US BAGHDAD (Reuters) ‹ Iraq will buy part of its wheat needs for 2004 from the United States while continuing to import the staple commodity from Australia, a senior Iraqi trade ministry official said on Thursday. "For sure, some of our wheat imports will be from the United States," Fakhruddin Rashan, the US-appointed executive director of the trade ministry told Reuters. "American firms have started contacting the ministry and expressed readiness to supply wheat, other cereals and foodstuffs," he added. Iraq's wheat harvest and import requirement were kept secret during Saddam Hussein's rule that was ousted by the US-led coalition forces five months ago. Rashan did not say, however, how much wheat Iraq would import from the United States. In the past decade Iraq had been importing about three million tonnes of wheat a year, two-thirds of it from Australia. Rashan said Iraq would continue wheat imports from Australia, worth about $490 million a year, under a now suspended United Nations oil-for-food programme. "We have contracts with the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) and our dealing with the board would continue because the AWB is a traditional supplier and the Australian wheat is of good quality," Rashan said. The US wheat industry is hoping to return to this lucrative market after several years of being shut out by Saddam. Iraq's annual wheat harvest is estimated at around two million tonnes. Baghdad in the late 1980s became the largest export market for American rice. Feed grains, oilseeds, cotton, sugar, dairy products, poultry and tobacco sales were also brisk. All these trade dealings were stopped when the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq in 1990 for its invasion of Kuwait. UN sanctions on Iraq were lifted in May this year. The sanctions banned Iraq from trading freely with the rest of the world, but under an oil-for-food deal the UN allowed Iraq to sell oil to buy food, medicine and humanitarian essentials. Friday-Saturday, September 12-13, 2003 _______________________________________________ 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