Indian business delegation to talk Iraq contracts in U.S.

Monday, 21 April 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: An Indian business delegation will visit the U.S. shortly to discuss the possibility of bagging a portion of contracts as well as sub-contracts worth $500 billion expected to be given out to rebuild Iraq.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) team will include representatives of leading companies, FICCI officials said here.

They said rebuilding of Iraq's rundown oil sector could cost $200 billion while it could take up to $300 billion to rebuild infrastructure and buildings damaged and destroyed in the U.S.-led war.

FICCI secretary general Amit Mitra said U.N. officials had assured FICCI that the entire order of 500,000 tonnes of wheat placed with Indian companies by Iraq under the Oil for Food Programme would be honoured.

FICCI has also been told that orders from India for tea and liquefied petroleum gas would be given priority once funds were available.

A two-member delegation consisting of Anil Agarwal, co-chairman of the India-Iraq Joint Business Council, and Prashant Biswal, director of FICCI office in the U.S., has held talks with India's Permanent Mission at the U.N. in New York.

Indian businesses have been concerned about the fate of the 3 billion worth of contracts signed under the Oil for Food Programme earlier.

Since these were given out during the Saddam Hussein regime, there are fears the new government in Baghdad may not respect them.

Mitra said Indian businesses could play a major role in rebuilding Iraq.
Source: IANS
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