§ Mr. McMahon
asked the Minister for Trade what steps his Department has taken to establish better trade relations with Iraq; and if he will make a statement on the level of trade between the United Kingdom and Iraq since March 1980.
§ Mr. Peter Rees:
In 1979, my right hon. Friends the then Secretary of State and Minister for Trade visited Baghdad. In June 1981, my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Trade signed an economic and technical co-operation agreement with his Iraqi counterpart in London. He subsequently attended the first meeting of the resulting joint commission in Baghdad, and the international trade fair, in October 1981. I attended a seminar in Baghdad in February 1982 organised by the British construction industry. Other Iraqi ministers have been invited to the United Kingdom. My hon. Friend the Minister for Consumer Affairs will attend the Baghdad international trade fair next month. The British Overseas Trade Board has supported 14 trade missions to Iraq since April 1980. Full support to British exporters has been given by the commercial sections in the British Embassy in Baghdad and the Iraqi Embassy in London. British exports to Iraq totalled £322 million in calendar year 1980. Full figures are not yet available for 1981, but the figures for the first six months of 1981 and 1982 were £287 million and £419 million respectively.