Iraq's Debt Relief: Procedure and Potential Implications for International Debt Relief [Updated January 28, 2008]   [open pdf - 125KB]

From the Summary: "Following the ouster of the Saddam Hussein regime in spring 2003, Iraq's external debt was estimated to be $125 billion. Reducing this debt to a sustainable level has been a priority of the U.S. government. Since 2003, debt relief negotiations have taken place in a variety of fora and led to the cancellation of a significant amount of Iraq's external debt. Iraq's external debt comprised four components: Paris Club bilateral debt ($37.15 billion), non-Paris Club bilateral debt ($67.4 billion), commercial debt ($20 billion) and multilateral debt ($0.5 billion). Debt relief negotiations first led to an 80% reduction of the Paris Club debt. The Paris Club agreement also set the terms for non-Paris Club and commercial debt cancellation levels. A provision of the Paris Club agreement is that Iraq cannot accept a debt cancellation agreement with other creditors on less favorable terms than those reached with the Paris Club. Thus, Iraq is expected to receive no more than an 80% cancellation from all of its creditors. [...] In light of Iraq's experience, three new precedents appear to have taken shape: (1) a willingness by the international community to grant a stay on the enforcement of creditor rights to collect unpaid sovereign debt; (2) an increased flexibility in Paris Club debt relief decisions; and (3) an unwillingness by successor regimes to claim that their debt is odious and repudiate it. This report will be updated as events warrant."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33376
Public Domain
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