Iraq has signed an agreement with the United States to import U.S. wheat and rice, the Iraqi trade minister said on Thursday.
The agreement covers the first half of 2019, Mohammed Hashim said at a signing ceremony in Baghdad.
“The agreement signals a wider cooperation with the American companies to supply Iraq with wheat and rice for 2019. The cabinet has approved it,” Iraqi trade minister Mohammed Hashim said during ceremonies held in Baghdad and attended by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq.
Under the deal, Iraq’s trade ministry will directly invite U.S. companies to submit offers to supply the country with wheat and rice cargoes required for domestic consumption.
The trade minister said this deal was signed because Iraq prefers the high quality of the U.S. rice and wheat.
Iraq needs an annual wheat supply of between 4.5 million and five million tonnes, and has an import gap of around two million tonnes a year.
The country spends billions of dollars annually on a Saddam Hussein-era programme for food rationing, the Public Distribution System, which distributes subsidised bread and other essential food.