Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

More State Firms Willing to Help Reconstruct Kuwait

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

More State Firms Willing to Help Reconstruct Kuwait

Article excerpt

Feature Editor Oklahoma businesses and industries are adding their names in large numbers to the long lists of those willing and able to provide services and products for the reconstruction of war-ravaged Kuwait.

"We are getting lots of calls on it, probably three or four calls an hour for the last four or five days," said Ron Wilson, Oklahoma district director of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which operates jointly with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

Members of the Kuwait government have started moving back into Kuwait following expulsion of the Iraqi army which started last week. Iraq invaded the country Aug. 2 and pillaged the country until a United Nations force led by U.S. military forces attacked Jan. 16 and forced retreat of the Iraqis.

"Basically what we have is information on the numbers of an office that has been set up in the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington. We have put out some information sheets on that, and as time goes on and we get more information, we'll update that," Wilson said.

"We are encouraging people to go ahead and write, or if they are are going to try to fax something, do it at off hours, because they are just being inundated. You cannot get through on those lines."

Companies interested in providing products or services to Kuwait should send their proposals directly to: Dr. Al-Awadi, director, The Kuwait Coordination and Follow-up Center, 1510 H St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005.

The Kuwaitis are reviewing those proposals and contacting firms directly, if and when they need the product or service. All proposals are being loaded onto a data base for future reference, Wilson said.

Contact also may be made with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East/Africa Projects, P.O. Box 2250, Winchester, Va. 22601-1450, Wilson advised. The Corps of Engineers has been awarded a $46 million Kuwaiti contract for damage assessment and emergency relief. It has announced plans to subcontract some of that work.

What kind of calls is Wilson getting from Oklahoma companies?

"Oil and gas, which is the dominant industry in this state, obviously, and anything else, because they (the Kuwaitis) need everything - roads, sewer systems, telephones. Everybody is calling saying, `How do I get involved?'

"We are getting an awful lot of calls from people who also want to go to work over there. That's interesting, I guess you just have some people who like excitement. They figure there are going to be a lot of jobs, and they have some talents and skills that they are not able to use here right now, so they will go over there. They need the work.

"It is something people are interested in. They are interested in going to work over there, and they are interested in selling their products over there, and everyone is calling. It is not limited. If you just look at the ubiquitous Manufacturer's Directory for the State of Oklahoma - that's who's calling. …

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