Fifty Russian Firms to be Represented at Baghdad International Fair

The 35th Baghdad international fair opens on Friday, November 1st. As many as 1,200 companies from 49 countries are expected to take part in it. Russia will be represented by about 50 firms.

As Viktor Yelin, Russia's trade representative, said in a RIA Novosti interview, Russia's display at the fair will be one of the biggest. The pavilion and open platform where mainly machines, equipment, agricultural, building and road equipment will be on display cover an area of 2,200 square metres, which is about 8% of the total fair area.

Iraq's Minister of Trade Muhammed Mehdi Saleh noted that Russia is one of the main economic partners of Iraq. Baghdad attaches "prime importance to its trade and economic cooperation with Russia." The volume of trade between Baghdad and Moscow has reached about 7 billion dollars in the past 6 years, i.e., during the time of operation of the UN "Oil for Food" program.

Within the framework of that program Iraq is permitted to sell on the world market a certain quantity of oil, and for the money thus received to purchase foodstuffs, medication and other humanitarian commodities. Russian companies, said Viktor Yelin, account for 35-40% of the oil Iraq exports.

The organizers of the fair are pleased to note that, despite the fact that Iraq is continuously threatened by the USA, the number of its participants has not only dropped, compared with last year, but has even increased by two countries. This, says the Iraqi Minister of Trade, evidences the "growing international support of the struggle Iraq and its people are waging for freedom and independence." The organizers of the fair stress that accent at the forthcoming fair has been laid not on consumer goods, but on machines and equipment that are called upon to help Iraq restore and develop its economy.

The first industrial and agricultural fair was held in Baghdad in 1956. It acquired the international status in 1964, when foreign countries took part in it for the first time. Before the introduction of the economic blockade against Iraq in 1990, every year from 52 to 55 countries took part in the Baghdad fairs.

The work of the 35th Baghdad international fair will continue until November 10.

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