December 08, 2003


No tariffs, low taxes ... Iraq is now a free-trade paradise:

Dozens of ships crowd the docks each day at Abu Flus, on the Shatt al-Arab waterway of southern Iraq, and offload vast cargos of food and consumer goods from the Gulf. There are no taxes, no tariffs and only the most cursory customs checks but for now this is quite legal in the new open market of Iraq. Fortunes are there to be made.

The vast influx of new satellite dishes, televisions, fridges and cookers on to the streets of Iraqi cities is one of the most visible signs of change since the war. But the corollary of these new-found economic freedoms is a wave of smuggling.

Oh no! Read the full story to discover exactly what is being smuggled. Itís all about ...

Posted by Tim Blair at December 8, 2003 07:47 PM

If Iraq is now a free trade zone, then how can there be a 'black market'? The whole place is a black market. And I like it.

Posted by: Mike Hunt at December 8, 2003 at 09:58 PM

The Guardian seems mighty ambivalent about all this free trade, mainly because the neo-cons are for it. Why is it even illegal to sell diesel fuel on the free market anyway?

Posted by: Randal Robinson at December 9, 2003 at 12:12 AM

A Fridge for 180 bucks?!? *packs bags*

Posted by: madne0 at December 9, 2003 at 02:38 AM

Great news: good thing we invaded when we did.

Posted by: bongoman at December 9, 2003 at 09:15 AM

I was on the waterfront at Dubai and Sharjah(United Arab Emirates)earlier this year and saw the amazing bustle of trade that goes on there, part of the reason why the UAE is so rich. And it's not just new stuff; the dhows and sambuks are transporting just about everything across the Gulf and to India--all kinds of second hand goods, bomby old bicycles, Vinnie's sofas, sacks of old toys, charcoal, salt, everything..It's an astonishing and colourful sight. When we were there a lot of people said to us how they were looking forward to when Iraq was liberated because then they could ship goods there too..Everyone wants to make a fortune there too. That's what the 'Arab street' in truth is actually interested in.

Posted by: Sophie at December 9, 2003 at 09:28 AM