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Vietnam begins rice exports to Iraq

Vietnam begins rice exports to Iraq

AMMAN -Vietnam has begun deliveries to Iraq of 200,000 tonnes of rice through

Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba, shipping and trading sources said last week.

The Song-Doung, with 10,000 tonnes of bagged Vietnamese rice, has nearly

finished unloading its Iraq-bound cargo and was due to leave last Friday.

Another Vietnamese ship discharged a similar quantity for Iraq on March

31 and loaded Jordanian phosphate, shippers said.

The two shipments to

Iraq are partial settlement of pre-Gulf War debts, shipping and trading sources

said.

Food and medicine are exempt from UN sanctions imposed on Iraq for

its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. But because of a hard currency crisis Iraq is

unable to meet its needs.

Iraq has so far contracted with Vietnam to

deliver 200,000 tonnes of Vietnamese rice to complete deliveries by the end of

the year, a major rice importer said.

Shipping sources said the two

shipments were the first major delivery of rice to Iraq in 1994 through Jordan's

Red Sea port of Aqaba.

Last year Iraq imported 590,000 tonnes of rice

through Aqaba, the main conduit for its imports of commodities.

Some

300,000 tonnes were Thai rice with the rest from various sources including

Vietnam, traders said.-Reuters

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