France was one of Iraq’s leading partners in the 1970s and 1980s, but our trade contracted under economic sanctions in the 1990s and even more after the military invention in 2003. Our exports fell to €143 million in 2004 and have plateaued since, totalling €173 million in 2008, which represents market share of less than 1%. A significant shift occurred in 2009, however, when French exports rose to €413 million (an increase of 139%) while our imports shrank by 42% to €838 million, as a result of the falling oil price and an economic slowdown in Europe. Those two factors slashed our trade deficit with Iraq from €1.3 billion to €426 million.
In the first eight months of 2010, our imports increased by 37% to €831 million, owing to higher oil and gas prices and economic recovery.
France cancelled approximately €4.8 billion of Iraq’s debt between 2005 and 2008, through the Paris club. That cancellation, which is 80% of Iraq’s debt to France, represents the biggest effort by a Western country.
Total was selected for the Halfaya Field in a consortium with CNPC and Petronas (Total has a 25% stake) in December 2009. Total is set to become the leading French investor in Iraq in the next six years.
Perenco has invested in oil exploration in Kurdistan.
General Electric has signed a contract to provide 56 turbines, some of which will be supplied by GE France’s plants in Belfort. Alstom won the tender to provide a turbine for the power station in Bassorah.
Schneider Electric has signed contracts to supply power generation equipment to Kurdistan and the provinces of Najaf and Karbala.
Aéroports de Paris International was awarded the contract to design Middle Euphrates Airport, located between Karbala and Najaf.
CMA-CGM is the first shipping company to serve Iraq, and handles one-third of traffic to and from the port of Umm Qasr (80% of Iraq’s traffic), where it operates two berths and is upgrading a third. Renault Trucks, a subsidiary of Volvo, won a contract in 2008 to supply 300 trucks to the Ministry of Oil, and signed an agreement in 2010 to set up two assembly lines, one in Iskandariya, and the other in Kurdistan.
Peugeot has signed the first segment (2,500 vehicles) of a contract to supply 10,000 light vehicles to the Ministry of Education (€100 million).
Degrémont is building a drinking water treatment plant in Al-Rusafa to supply 4 million residents of Baghdad, and is also the main contractor to supply 19 compact drinking water units for greater Baghdad.
In March 2009 Saint-Gobain signed two contracts to supply water and sewer pipes to Karbala and Abu Ghraib.
Lafarge is the leading French investor in Iraq (with an investment of $1 billion). The company has two cement plants in Kurdistan (producing 60% of the cement made in Iraq) and has just bought the cement plant in Karbala.
Updated on : 09.02.11
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