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FICCI to send another team to Iraq for deals

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, April 17

RECONSTRUCTION of Iraq is now an issue of great importance for India Inc as yet another business mission makes plans to move into the war-torn country.

A business meeting of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) held on Wednesday has decided that another delegation would leave for the US after its office there makes a thorough assessment and preparatory processes are completed.

"The objective of the delegation will be to secure contracts and sub-contracts for reconstruction," according to the chamber. FICCI has already received confirmation of participation of companies such as Ircon, BHEL, PCP, PDIL, NICCO Corporation, Tata International and ESSAR

It is estimated that besides re-building the oil sector (pegged at around $200 billion), the remaining reconstruction work will be of a total value of around $300 billion to be spent over the next five to seven years.

FICCI is first dealing with the contacts of Indian companies, worth over Rs 3,000 crore, secured under the UN `Oil for Food Programme'. The programme had to be stalled on account of the war, but resolution 1472, which was approved by the UN Security Council on March 28, partially restored it. There were substantial difficulties expressed by Indian exporters with regard to 1472.

In this regard, FICCI had sent a representative mission comprising Mr Anil K. Agarwal, Co-Chairman, India-Iraq Joint Business Council, and Mr Prashant K. Biswal, Director, FICCI-US. "Enough efforts and initiative had to be put in to pre-organise the meeting of this mission with the Permanent Mission of India in New York as well with the Chief and the Deputy Chief of Office of Iraq Programme (OIP)," the chamber said.

OIP has agreed that the entire orders of wheat placed with the Indian companies will be accepted, FICCI said. With respect to tea and LPG cylinders, the OIP officials promised that at a later stage and with the availability of funds, these orders would be given priority.

Another issue clarified by the OIP was on the present rates of orders for various supplies, as approved by UN 661 Committee. These rates will remain sacrosanct, but the five nominated agencies of UN can negotiate the price increase or decrease due to shipping costs up to the new delivery point. This has been brought to the notice of the concerned exporters.

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