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Cablegate: Kuwait-Hosted Iraq Reconstruction Expo An

VZCZCXRO0212
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHKU #1603 3111115
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071115Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0258
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS KUWAIT 001603

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR NEA/ARP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ETRD KU IZ
SUBJECT: KUWAIT-HOSTED IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION EXPO AN
UNDERWHELMING EVENT


1. (SBU) Under the patronage of Crown Prince Shaykh Nawaf
Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, the Kuwait International Fair
hosted the second International Trade Exhibition for the
Reconstruction of Iraq from 4-7 November. In addition to a
number of European and African ambassadors (but no Arab
Chiefs of Mission from what we could tell), CDA and A/DCM
attended the opening of the event along with Kuwaiti Minister
of Commerce and Industry Falah Al-Hajeri and Iraqi Minister
of Construction and Housing Bayan Dazee, who wandered the
exhibition floor trailed by a crew of journalists, staffers,
and assorted hangers-on. Al-Hajeri said, "I hope the
exhibition will bring positive results, especially through
side meetings between representatives from the Iraqi Chamber
of Commerce and Kuwaiti firms to agree on ways to cooperate
to rebuild Iraq." He added, "The strategic position of
Kuwait makes it the closest gateway into Iraq. Kuwait
supports Iraq through the Kuwaiti companies which will
contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq soon." For her
part, Dazee said, "Political stability and security were
issues before, but now the situation in Iraq is improving.
Our goal from such exhibitions is to get Arab and foreign
companies to contribute to rebuilding the infrastructure of
Iraq, and I encourage all companies to enter the Iraqi market
and help us to rebuild it."

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2. (SBU) About 75 companies operated booths at the expo,
including about 40 Kuwaiti companies, 9 Iranian companies, 7
Romanian companies, and other companies from Europe, the
Gulf, and Australia. The products and services represented
included logistics services, industrial supplies, personal
protective equipment, generators, construction materials, and
commodes. Prospective customer traffic through the expo
seemed light both at the opening and during a follow-on visit
by Econoff on day two of the event. In an informal poll of a
small sample of the booths, Kuwaiti and European sales
representatives told Econoff that despite local press
announcements and flyers promoting the event, attendance had
been disappointing and few potential sales contacts had been
made. A sales rep from a Kuwaiti lube oil company told
Econoff, "When most Kuwaitis hear the word Iraq they still
think of a danger rather than a business opportunity."

********************************************* *
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/?cable s

Visit Kuwait's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/
********************************************* *
MISENHEIMER

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