IRAQ: Textile and leather factories to sign US contracts

BAGHDAD:  An Iraqi official has informed that retailers like Wal-Mart, JC Penney and Sears, Roebuck can stock and sell Iraq make leather jackets and clothes in the US by Christmas. Top Iraqi and US officials said that a number of Iraqi textile and leather factories are set to sign contracts with the retailers, which would launch their products on the US market.

Iraqi Deputy Industry Minister Sami al-Araji, speaking at a press conference said “Negotiations with the retailers are being conducted by a US team headed by Paul Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defence for business transformation”.
"But soon we would be holding direct talks. We are ready to transfer goods to these stores," Araji added.

An initial shipment would be 10,000 to 12,000 leather jackets from a Baghdad factory, 20,000 to 25,000 ready-made suits from one in the central Shiite city of Najaf and teenage clothes from another in the northern city of Mosul, he said.

“The American public will be introduced to Iraqi products at a competitive price," he said, adding that the goods would be displayed only at a limited number of outlets in the United States. Araji expects to sell an Iraqi readymade suit for around 80 to 90 dollars to middle-class Americans. "We thought to start with the textile industry. It would be a very good public relations campaign for Iraqi goods and services if we put something by Thanksgiving and Christmas," he said.

Brinkley said reviving Iraq's economy was key to curbing the daily violence that has torn the country apart since the March 2003 US-led invasion.

It was an attempt to "open up American business for acquiring goods made in Iraq", Paul Brinkley told the joint press conference with Araji.

Brinkley said that many Iraqi factories were in good shape despite the raging violence and unemployment rates of more than 60 percent.

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Added: August 13, 2007 Source: Agencies
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