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May 14, 2008

GERMANY: Daimler eyes Iraq

Daimler is hoping to open a new office in Baghdad later this year.

Daimler is hoping to open a new office in Baghdad  later this year.

This is the first step in assessing the market potential of Iraq and the security situation there, a Daimler spokeswoman told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper.

Daimler is reportedly considering supplying trucks and vans to the country. “This step is a sign that we see the situation in Iraq returning to normal,” she said.

Daimler’s previous operations in Iraq were put on hold in 1991 when then-ruler Sadam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The automaker’s interest is considered significant in terms of attracting foreign investment to the country.

The Kuwaiti government is Daimler’s biggest shareholder and sees the Middle East as an area of growth, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Daimler’s Middle East base is in Dubai.

The WSJ said Middle East chief executive Nicholas Speeks visited Iraq twice last year and his itinerary included a state-owned car and truck factory in Iskandariyah, south of Baghdad which produces vehicles for the US military and other customers.

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