US opens up Iraq contract bids

The United States has declared companies from all countries eligible to bid for $6 billion worth of contracts in Iraq.

    Iraq's battered infrastructure is in dire need of repair

    The move confirms the Bush administration's change of heart over

     restrictions that

    excluded countries opposed to last year's invasion of the country.

    The move was announced on Wednesday in a notice posted by Iraq's US-appointed Coalition

    Provisional Authority on a website devoted to Iraq procurement

    programmes.

    Construction contracts worth an estimated $5 billion

    continue to be limited to firms from the United States, Iraq,

    coalition partners and countries that contributed troops to the the invasion force

    , the notice said.

    "However, all countries are eligible for subcontracting in the $5 billion

     construction efforts," it said.

    European anger

    "All countries are also elibible to compete as prime and/or

    sub-contractors for the $6 billion non-construction contract

    efforts (one exception - $327 million New Iraqi Army

    Battalion Sets contract)," it added.

    The United States infuriated European partners in December when

    it excluded bids for prime contracts by companies from countries

    such as Canada, France and Germany that opposed the war, citing

    national security interests.

    The White House then backed-pedalled, telling Canada its

    companies could participate in future bids.

    Pentagon officials said

    companies from western European countries also would be allowed to

    bid as primes in a second tranche of contracts.

    The contracts are funded from an $18.6 billion grant 

    by the US Congress.

    SOURCE: AFP


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