The commitments coincided with TBI issuing its first letters of credit (LC). The seven LCs, which total $7.9 million, were extended to back the purchase of medical supplies including vaccination syringes and sutures.

‘Through the TBI, Iraq will be able to import goods and services on a much more efficient cost-effective and transparent basis than was possible in the near past,’ said TBI president Hussein al-Uzri.

TBI said it expects that the Oil Ministry would make significant use of its LCs, having already identified many necessary items of plant and machinery in its bid to restore oil wells to full production levels.

TBI was formed on 17 July to provide trade finance services to local importers and exporters from both the public and private sectors. It was established by a JP MorganChase & Company-led consortium of banks that will supply it with technology and training, and operate it for a limited period.

Other members of the consortium are Turkey’s AkBank, ANZ Banking Group, Portugal’s Banco Comercial Portugues, Poland’s Bank Millennium, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Credit Lyonnais, Brazil’s Gruppo SanPaolo IMI, Spain’s La Caixa, National Bank of Kuwait, Royal Bank of Canada, South Africa’s Standard Bankand Standard Chartered Bank.