WASHINGTON, D.C. — Continuing the efforts to re-introduce Iraq’s wheat buyers to American wheat, U.S. industry officials will welcome an Iraqi trade team composed of members of the Iraq Grain Board to the United States at the end of May.

After Saddam Hussein shut U.S. wheat out of their market in 1998, the American product is finding new appreciation by the new Iraq. In the days since U.S. Wheat Associates experts met with 25 Iraqi officials in Jordan earlier this spring, Iraq has purchased over 350,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat, including an earlier renegotiated Oil for Food sale. But there’s still much to “catch up on,” says USW vice president Paul Dickerson.

“We were very impressed with the enthusiasm of the Iraqis during our three days of meetings this spring. We offered some suggestions on their specifications in wheat tenders, so they could solicit wider participation than under the Oil for Food program,” Dickerson said.

Plans are for the Iraqi trade team to stop in Texas, Kansas, and Washington, D.C. During their time in Washington, the team will meet with government and trade officials who can provide assistance in facilitating future business.

“The U.S. wheat marketing system is somewhat complicated, but it is designed to insure fairness in the multi-million dollar transactions,” Dickerson pointed out. “During their time here, we intend to demonstrate that the U.S. system works to our customers’ benefit, and suggest ways to write tenders so that they can accrue those benefits.

“We’re also looking forward to continuing the “catching up” process on a more personal level,” he said.