Feb 11, 2016
BAGHDAD, IRAQ – The Ministry of Trade of Iraq has issued a new tender here for 90,000 metric tons of rice specifically of U.S. origin. Bids are due in 10 days, and while the offer of a tender does not guarantee a sale, the move was welcomed in the United States.
“USA Rice has been working for years to make Iraq a reliable market once again, meeting with Iraqi officials, sponsoring trips for the Iraq Grain Board to come to the United States, holding technical meetings, hiring a consultant on the ground there, and getting the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad involved,” explained USA Rice Chairman Dow Brantley. “The political and financial situation there remains volatile, but this U.S.-specific tender is a sign that we are making headway.”
The new tender comes on the heels of a two-day workshop held here for staff at the Iraq Ministries of Trade and Planning and the Iraq Grain Board, jointly organized by USA Rice, the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Commerce Department, and USAID.
Many technical issues were covered, including shipping bulk versus bag, broken percentages, and other logistical challenges faced in country.
“This is exciting news, but it’s important to keep things in context,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward. “We’ve learned that rations for Iraqi citizens are being dialed back because of extreme revenue shortfalls and the lack of an approved budget, but we will continue to make the case for U.S. rice to re-establish this important market, both for us, but also for the Iraqi people.”