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Iraq, Jordan Foster Business Ties

July 31, 1999

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Jordan’s private sector should do more business with Iraq to seize the lucrative market, Trade and Industry Minister Mohammed Asfour said Saturday.

``Our private sector should look ahead because some Arab countries are infiltrating the Iraqi market and doing good business with it,″ Asfour said.

He made the remarks during talks with a visiting delegation from Iraq’s Federation of Trade Chambers headed by Zuheir Abdul-Ghaffour Yunis.

Iraq was Jordan’s largest trade partner before the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the ensuing U.N. sanctions that depleted Baghdad’s funds.

Two-way trade stands at $220 million this year, compared with $800 million in 1990. The U.N.-approved trade exchange allows Jordan to receive all its oil needs from Baghdad in return for exports of food and medicine.

Abdul-Ghaffour, the head of the Iraqi trade team, also held talks with Jordanian business executives on ways to repay $60 million in overdue Iraqi debts to private Jordanian businessmen accumulated before 1990. No agreement was reached.

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