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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
British business eyes Iraqi opportunities
Oil tankers at the Turkey-Iraq border
Britain would like some of Iraq's oil trade
An organised group of British businesses plans to take part in the annual Baghdad International Trade Fair for the first time since the Gulf War in 1991.

A number of "medium to large" British companies are expected to attend, Saad Hadi of organisers Oriental Exhibitions told BBC News Online.


The best support we could we could get from the British government would be to leave us alone

Saad Hadi
Oriental Exhibitions
"At the moment we have about a dozen, and there may be more if the political situation improves," he said but declined to identify them.

Over the past 10 years individual companies have attended.

The trade trip comes after Iraq offered to let weapons inspectors return to the country after threats from the US and Britain to overthrow President Saddam Hussein.

"Unfortunately politics controls economics in that part of the world at the moment but we want to show there are British companies willing to do business under food-for-oil deal," Mr Hadi said.

Travel plans would be reviewed depending on how the situation in Iraq developed before 1 November when the fair opens, he said.

Government help?

The Department of Trade and Industry used to back the trips before 1991 when about 100 British companies used to attend, but not any more.

"The best support we could we could get from the British government would be to leave us alone," Mr Hadi said.

The companies would be looking for contracts in the oil, medical, water treatment and engineering sectors which are largely exempt from UN sanctions imposed in 1990.

"Arms and dual use items are the only ones that you cannot export; take that away and you have a massive list," said Mr Hadi.

British businesses would be dealing directly with state-owned Iraqi companies because the private sector is not well developed.


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17 Sep 02 | Business
10 Sep 02 | Business
06 Sep 02 | Business
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