GOP senators urge government to help Iraq buy wheat
Five Republican senators have written U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller to urge him to use the Export-Import Bank to help Iraq purchase U.S. wheat.
Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., said he led a letter that was also signed by Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member John Boozman, R-Ark., and Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas and James Inhofe of Oklahoma.
The five Republican senators wrote, “The current wheat situation in Iraq is troublesome. Due to smaller than expected harvests, and subsequent lower than expected government procurement of local wheat, Iraq will need to import a substantial volume of wheat to continue to operate their primary subsidized feeding program, the Public Distribution System.”
“That situation is made more dire by Iraqi’s current budget challenges and their lengthy tendering and inspection systems — from the time a tender is issued, it takes nearly three months for wheat to arrive in country. That means the Iraqis need to act now, to ensure their PDS has ample wheat available late this fall.
“The U.S. is generally the largest exporter of wheat to this market and a natural partner to supply wheat to Iraq in times of need. However, as you are well aware, wheat purchases by Iraq require multiple ministries working in tandem – which is where we are hopeful your outreach to them can be helpful. We are asking for support to help push the wheat tendering process along and for the State Department to offer additional assistance to the Iraqis to access the EXIM tools.”
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