Iraq to stop using US dollar in foreign trade
Iraq said Tuesday that it will replace the US dollar, the currency of an "enemy state", with other currencies including the euro for foreign trade transactions.
”The cabinet took this decision Monday on the recommendation of a commission of economic experts to no longer use the US dollar," said Iraqi Finance Minister Hekmat Ibrahimi al-Azzawi, cited by the INA news agency.
"The dollar is the currency of an enemy state, and must be abandoned for other currencies, including the euro," Azzawi said.
Azzawi urged other countries to snub the dollar, saying the United States was employing an "imperialist" economic policy in league with "Zionists" to weaken the economies of other countries in the world.
Iraq will work, in the framework of the Arab League, to "push through a similar Arab measure because it is in the interest of Arabs to renounce the currency of a country hostile to them," he vowed.
Iraq's cabinet, chaired by President Saddam Hussein, commissioned a team of economists on September 14 to prepare a study on the possibility of using the euro or any other currency in Iraq's trade instead of the dollar.
"The use of the dollar is one of the symbols of the influence and force of our enemy," the cabinet said, adding it was the "job of Iraq to combat the enemy in all fields possible."
Baghdad, which accuses Washington of maintaining the crippling sanctions regime imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, exports 2.4 million barrels of oil a day.
Revenues from this crude, exported under strict UN supervision, are used to finance imports of food, medicine and essential goods.
Iraq, which like other producers prices its crude in dollars, has sold more than 34 billion barrels of oil since the oil-for-food programme was launched in December 1996, according to the United Nations.
An official Iraqi newspaper said Monday that the price of crude should not be fixed in dollars "because that harms the interests of producers," and instead suggested using a basket of currencies, headed by the euro. – (AFP)
@ Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)