Thursday, October 16, 2003

15 October is the day that Saddam Hussein's face will disappear from Iraqi banknotes. A new dinar of large denominations will be introduced to bring the economy back on track. Meanwhile, the trade in second-hand cars and electronic gadgets is flourishing like never before...

Korean businessman Yang Kun Kim has been doing business with Iraq for four years. He started off selling spare parts to a factory manufacturing car-batteries, which weren't covered by the UN embargo at the time. Now, he's exporting complete cars.

"It's estimated that some 60,000 cars have been shipped to Iraq from South Korea alone. The main difference compared to a year ago is that we no longer do any business with the government, which basically doesn't exist at present. So, we're now focusing on the private sector."

Mr Kim is upbeat about the future. "Living standards are set to go up steadily," he says. His Iraqi business partner "Khaled" adds that most entrepreneurs have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. "Iraqi just isn't stable enough, certainly not here. And it won't be for some time to come."

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