The Government of Canada has committed more than $300 million in assistance to the people of Iraq. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will channel many of the funds through its traditional partners-the United Nations (UN), international humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO) active in Iraq.
Prior to the Gulf War, Iraq was one of Canada's most important markets in the Middle East, with Canadian-Iraqi trade peaking at over $375 million in 1989. While Iraq has the potential to once again be an important market for Canadian firms, major challenges will remain in the short- to medium-term. Challenges include the absence of an Iraqi government, large debts and on-going UN sanctions. As these issues are resolved, there should be no impediments to full participation by Canadian companies in the long-term redevelopment of Iraq.
Reconstruction efforts are at a very early stage and are currently limited to US government-funded contracts, most of which are administered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). However, sub-contracting for US government reconstruction contracts offer opportunities for Canadian companies.
California-based Bechtel Corporation, which has been selected by USAID to lead the design, rehabilitation, upgrading and reconstruction of Iraq's infrastructure, is hosting a contractor-supplier conference in Washington on May 21, in London on May 23 and in Kuwait to inform the worldwide contracting community of its role in USAID's program.
Sanctions established by the United Nations Security Council are still in effect. Until sanctions are suspended, any exports to, or imports of oil from, Iraq will require the approval of the UN Sanctions Committee, as well as a certificate from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). The Canadian Embassy in Syria is currently the main point-of-contact regarding commercial opportunities in Iraq. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )