Blog: Leonie Barrie‘Made in Iraq’ the label of choice

Leonie Barrie | 15 August 2007

Clothing and leather goods bearing the ‘Made in Iraq’ label could top western Christmas lists this year under a new initiative aimed at reviving the war-torn country’s economy. As yet unnamed international retailers are said to be close to placing orders for the Iraqi-made products after Paul Brinkley, the US deputy under-secretary of defence responsible for “business transformation” in Iraq decided to focus on revitalising the economy as a way of repressing insurgents.

Many aspects of the scheme make sense, none more so than providing a steady income for Iraqi widows and divorcees who have few other ways of earning a living, as well as offering enough work and hope for the disillusioned unemployed to undermine terrorism in the worst-hit cities.

But I only hope it’s not a one-hit wonder, and that something sustainable is the result. Yes there will be an initial novelty-value in the ‘Made in Iraq’ tag, but if it is to survive as a long-term venture to kick-start the economy, then the garments and factories will be judged on their quality and performance. And as for the practicalities of placing and delivering orders, well it’s unlikely buyers will want to visit any of the factories, in the short-term at least, and cargo inspections and lengthy waits at the border could well add long delays to lead times.

IRAQ: International retailers to buy clothing, leather goods


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