Iraqi minister: German business welcome

9th February 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 February 2004 , DUESSELDORF - Iraqi Finance Minister Kamal el Gailani said Monday that German investments and companies would be welcomed in his country, even before the envisioned mid-year transfer of power in Baghdad. In an interview in the business daily Handelsblatt, Gailani conceded that companies from countries which had been part of the US-led alliance in the war in Iraq would be at an advantage for contracts. "But if it is about finding the best solution for Iraq, then I think that we will be see

9 February 2004

DUESSELDORF - Iraqi Finance Minister Kamal el Gailani said Monday that German investments and companies would be welcomed in his country, even before the envisioned mid-year transfer of power in Baghdad.

In an interview in the business daily Handelsblatt, Gailani conceded that companies from countries which had been part of the US-led alliance in the war in Iraq would be at an advantage for contracts.

"But if it is about finding the best solution for Iraq, then I think that we will be seeing German firms here," the minister in Baghdad's provisional government told the paper.

The interview coincided with a visit by a 12-member Iraqi business delegation to Germany, making a tour of cities including Berlin, Potsdam, Braunschweig and Munich.

The delegation's trip is sponsored by the German-Arab Trade and Industry Federation led by former German economics minister Guenter Rexrodt.

In Berlin, Rexrodt said that a return visit by German business leaders to Iraq was planned for some point after the turnover of power in Baghdad from the American administrators to an Iraqi government at the end of June.

The contacts follow on a recent meeting in Jordan between a Federation of German Industry delegation and Iraqi businessmen. German firms also recently participated in an Iraq reconstruction trade fair held in Kuwait.

Then-West Germany had been a major trade partner of Iraq's in the oil boom years of the late 1970s and early 1980s, with German construction firms especially involved in large-scale infrastructural projects.

Business then fell off sharply as the Iran-Iraq war dragged on during the 1980s and then fell victim to the sanctions on Iraq imposed by the international community after the invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 and the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War.

Last year, Germany and the U.S. became embroiled in a row over Washington's plans to exclude companies from those countries - like Germany - which did not back the war in Iraq.

Mideast business analysts note however that German firms are already playing an indirect role in early Iraqi reconstruction efforts. Siemens, for example, has won a mobile phone network order for a project in Iraq by a Kuwaiti company.

DPA
Subject: German news

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