Syria seeks wheat compensation over French delivery failure

Syria's wheat crop rose to 3.8 million tonnes last year but fell short of a planned 4.7 million output.

Syria seeks wheat compensation over French delivery failure

Syrian authorities have not received the final wheat cargo from a French supplier under a major deal concluded last year and are seeking compensation, a Syrian commodities official said.

The official told Reuters the state's wheat organisation was expecting to collect on a performance bond, or guarantee, for the contract to buy 150,000 tonnes of French wheat from Granit Negoce, a division of Axereal, which is a union of cooperatives from central France.

Contacted by Reuters, Jean-Philippe Everling, director of Granit Negoce, declined to comment.

The deal has already been the subject of a high profile dispute last year after Syria refused a previous shipment, saying the wheat did not meet specifications.

"We did not receive the last cargo of the contract. "It is insured, but we're entitled to the bond," the commodities official told Reuters in the Syrian capital.

"We will have no problem if we end up receiving the wheat," the official said.

A source familiar with the dispute said the two sides talked last week about ways to reach an agreement.

"Both want the cargo to reach Syria, but they have to agree on how to pay for the extra costs," the source said.

The contract was one of the biggest purchases by Syria since a drought in 2008 forced the government to start importing wheat.

The Syrian official said that in the current row, a 7,500 tonne cargo, shipped from France on a cost and freight (CFR) basis aboard the Turkish flagged vessel Civra, had been due to arrive in Syrian waters in October.

But a series of incidents has delayed the vessel, which was at present anchored off the port of Gijon in Spain, according to shipping sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

Syria asked France to help rebuild its wheat stocks during a visit by Sarkozy to Syria in 2008. Granit subsequently sold Syria the 150,000 tonnes of French wheat, plus or minus 10 percent, at 180 euro a tonne.

Syria's wheat crop rose to 3.8 million tonnes last year but fell short of a planned 4.7 million output.


Reuters

Last Mod: 10 Şubat 2010, 16:07
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