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Hewitt steps into row over Iraq construction contracts

The government has stepped in to support UK practices hoping to join the reconstruction effort in Iraq, following news that US firms had already secured the bulk of contracts (AJ 20.3.03).

Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt has spoken to Andrew Natsios, the adminstrator of USAID, to push the expertise of British companies.Natsios, who has already offered $900 million worth of tenders to US contractors, was 'broadly sympathetic'. While USAID will only issue contracts to US firms, British companies will be able to bid as subcontractors. The proportion of work this might represent is as yet unclear.

A DTI spokesman said UK architecture practices interested in bidding should put themselves forward. The department will continue to negotiate with USAID for more work for UK practices.

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