ISSUED JOINTLY BY THE TRADE BANK OF IRAQ AND THE COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY
December 4th, 2003
MORE THAN $2BN IN EXPORT CREDIT GUARANTEES FOR IRAQ, FROM 16 COUNTRIES New letters of credit facility allows import of $7.9m in medical supplies through Trade Bank of Iraq
Baghdad, Iraq – Export credit agencies from 16 countries have committed more than $2bn in export credit lines to Iraq today.
The countries are, in alphabetical order: Austria (OeKB), Australia (EFIC), Belgium (ONDD), Czech Republic (EGAP), Denmark (EKF), Germany (HERMES), Italy (SACE), Japan (NEXI), Luxembourg (ODL), Netherlands (NCM), Poland (KUKE), Spain (CESCE), Sweden (EKN), Switzerland (ERG), UK (ECGD), United States (EXIM/OPIC).
The new guarantees will help support purchases of goods and services from businesses based in each of the 15 countries.
Trade Bank of Iraq President Hussein Al-Uzri attended a export credit agreement signing ceremony held in Rome today. He said:
“These new and very welcome guarantees are an encouragement to firms around the world who want to do business here, that can help Iraq rebuild and grow.”
They complement facilities offered by the recently-formed Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI), which is issuing its first 7 letters of credit, through a JP Morgan-led consortium of international banks. The letters back the purchase of medical supplies totalling $7.9m including sutures and vaccination syringes.
Mr Al-Uzri said:
“The 7 letters of credit to be issued, like others to be issued in the future through TBI, will help Iraq buy vital supplies as well as the capital goods needed for reconstruction and development.
“Through the TBI, Iraq will be able to import goods and services on a much more efficient cost-effective and transparent basis than was possible in the near past.”
The CPA’s Director of Economic Policy, Ambassador Marek Belka, who was also in Rome for the signing, said:
“Iraq’s trading relations with the rest of the world continue to normalise. The TBI operation and the credit support committed by these 15 export credit agencies are clear signs of Iraq’s reintegration into the world financial community.”
These 7 letters of credit (LCs) will underwrite the import of essential medical supplies. These supplies are part of the Ministry of Health’s projected requirements for the forthcoming year. Contracts include orders for vaccination syringes and sutures. Many of the syringes will be used to immunise children as part of the Ministry’s ongoing countrywide vaccination programme, whilst Iraqi surgeons now have access the most modern suture technology available.
The new Trade Bank LCs will also aid the import of capital goods. The Iraqi Ministry of Oil is likely to make significant use of them, having already identified many necessary items of plant and machinery in their bid to restore Iraq’s oil wells to full production levels.
Notes to Editors
1. Lorella Campi at the Italian Ministry Press Office attended today’s signing ceremony in Rome. Contact her or Guido Sircana on 0039 06 4761 4606/4360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
2. Contact export credit agencies in countries named for full details of their credit line commitments.
3. First point of contact at the Coalition Provisional Authority Press Office in Baghdad is Karen Triggs on 001 914 822 5001 or 00 44 7789 273496 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
4. The Trade Bank of Iraq was established on July 17 2003 to make vital trade finance services available to Iraqi importers and exporters from both the public and private sectors. The TBI will facilitate the issuance of letters of credit, thereby helping to support trade with Iraq for emergency needs and for longer-term development. JPMorgan leads an international consortium of banks to help establish the TBI, supply it with technology and training, and operate it for a limited period. Other members of the consortium in alphabetical order are: AkBank (of Turkey), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Banco Comercial Portugues, Bank Millennium (of Poland), Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Credit Lyonnais, Gruppo SanPaolo IMI, La Caixa (of Spain), National Bank of Kuwait, Royal Bank of Canada, Standard Bank (of South Africa), Standard Chartered Bank.
4. Hussein Al Uzri was appointed President of the Trade Bank of Iraq on 8 November 2003. Born in Baghdad in 1962 he trained as an engineer and spent the earlier part of his career in industry restructuring – he undertook restructuring projects for 2 plants, one in Jordan and the other in Switzerland, for example. He worked in the banking and financial sector in various roles since 1989 until present, particularly in markets transitioning from a centralized socialist economy to decentralized market economy in the Former Soviet Union (FSU). In the FSU he helped to introduce new banking sectors such as retail and credit. Mostly recently (1995-present) Mr Al Uzri been Director General of Card Tech (Russia) Ltd (CTL-R). He established Card Tech Limited’s Russian subsidiary (based Moscow), which he has since grown to more than 50 technical staff servicing more than 40 banks in Russia, the CIS and the Baltic region. Card Tech Limited is the leading consulting and software company worldwide, and in the FSU, it is considered the leader in the retail banking industry. Mr Al Uzri is fluent in Arabic, English and Russian. 5. Ambassador Marek Belka took up his appointment as the Coalition Provisional Authority’s Director for Economic Policy on November 1 2003. Immediately prior to this appointment, from May 2003, he served in Baghdad as Chairman of the Council for International Coordination (CIC). The former Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to the Finance and Economics Ministry, he is the author of several books and over 100 articles on macroeconomic theory and policy, anti-inflation policy in market economies, economics of transition, particularly on microeconomic adjustment under different policy regimes in transition economies. He is a tenured professor at the University of Lodz and Institute of Economics, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. Ambassador Belka was born in Lodz, Poland in 1952.