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Export Credits Guarantee Department (Iraq)

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 2nd February 2004.

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Photo of Malcolm Bruce Malcolm Bruce Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the contracts for which Iraq incurred its outstanding debt to the Export Credit Guarantee Department, including the names of the projects and the UK companies concerned; and if she will make a statement on the Government's intention to recover this debt.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Minister of State (Trade), Department of Trade and Industry, Minister of State (Trade), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

holding answer 29 January 2004

ECGD has unrecovered claims of around £623 million arising from contracts with Iraq signed prior to the first Gulf conflict in 1991. This amount does not include interest, which, it is estimated, could bring the figure to around £1 billion.

These claims stem from more than 500 cases supporting the export of goods ranging from consumer items to heavy industrial equipment. The details of these contracts could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

The Government believe that Iraq's external debt is unsustainable and that creditors will need to agree a substantial reduction through a clear multilateral process in order to restore Iraq to sustainability. This is likely to lead to the writing off of the vast majority of Iraq's external debt.

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