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Business Is Booming In Baghdad

America's Gulf War allies were coming together again on Friday. This time the meeting place was the biggest international trade fair in Baghdad since sanctions were imposed. CBS News Correspondent Allen Pizzey reports.

The Iraqi regime called it the erosion of United Nations' sanctions. More than 30 countries were there, including long-standing former enemies of Iraq.

They were all talking about one thing. Whatever the language it meant business with Iraq, big business.

"A lot of billions," says one businessman.

There were deals being struck between Iraqi and Syrian businessmen, until recent times, an unimaginable scene.

"We are looking for best offers even Syrian and Iranian," said Iraqi businessman Howry Mahmoud.

Japanese cars are a coveted

item by people who have been deprived under the United Nations' embargo. Big money deals were also in the works for British tractors, German combine-harvesters, French trucks and heavy machinery from a dozen countries.

The only drawback is that every deal must be approved by the United Nations sanctions committee, a process Iraq accuses the U.S. of making extremely difficult.

What this trade fair is really about is making friends. The companies and countries represented at the fair are more interested now in doing business with Saddam Hussein than they are in punishing him with sanctions and air strikes.

And, when sanctions go, the Iraqis say they'll remember their friends. American business, they are quick to add, will be the big loser.

Reported By Allen Pizzey