Economy, Foreign Trade
food arrangement, medicine worth, trade embargo, raw wool, imported food
Before the UN imposed a trade embargo on Iraq following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, average annual exports were estimated at $10.4 billion and imports at about $6.6 billion. Petroleum sales accounted for almost all the export earnings; other exports were dates, raw wool, and hides and skins. Leading imports were machinery, transportation equipment, foodstuffs, and pharmaceuticals. Iraq’s main trade partners were Brazil, Turkey, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
With the trade embargo in place, Iraq virtually ceased earning income from exports. In 1996, under the oil-for-food agreement, the UN permitted Iraq to export oil worth $2 billion every six months to purchase food and medicine for its civilian population. However, Iraq could not pump that much oil for a variety of reasons, such as damage to equipment and loss of skilled workers. Therefore Iraq did not export as much oil as was allowed. Consequently, in 1996 Iraq exported oil worth only $400 million and imported food and medicine worth $492 million. The UN agreed in 1998 to increase the value of the oil-for-food arrangement to $5.2 billion every six months.
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