Iraq to Pay 1980s Wheat Debt over 17 Years

Payment for wheat exports to Iraq in the late 1980s will finally be distributed to growers in Australia, according to a report from Weekly Times Now.

Grain growers will share in about $48m in repayment of debt owed by Iraq relating to three wheat pools run by the former Australian Wheat Board, and affecting 52,000 growers.

Corporate advisory business Ferrier Hodgson has been pursuing repayment of the outstanding debt after the issue was referred to it by Agrium Inc. when it took over AWB Limited.

After the end of the first Gulf War in 1990 Iraq defaulted on $US480 million in wheat payments to the AWB. The Federal Government's insurance arm, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, paid 80 per cent of the debt (about $US380 million) to the board in 1990, leaving $US99.2 million owed to growers.

In 2004, the Paris Club of nations waived some of Iraq’s debt, leaving about $US50 million owed to Australian growers.

The outstanding $US50 million will be paid by Iraq in annual instalments of about $3 million for the next 17 years, a repayment time frame determined by the Paris Club.

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