The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) remains unimpressed with Iraq's attempt "to play politics in grain".

Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh said yesterday [Thursday] that Iraq was halving wheat purchases from Australia in response to Canberra's support for a possible US attack on Iraq, reported Reuters. To make up the resulting shortfall, Saleh said Iraq would lift the one-year-old boycott of Canadian wheat, imposed Canada backed a US air raid on Iraq.

This apparently good news has left officials a the Canadian Wheat Board cold, not least because the current drought means the country will already find it hard to meet its current export commitments.

CWB spokeswoman Louise Waldman told Reuters she had no way of knowing if private Canadian wheat exporters accredited by the wheat board were holding talks with Iraq. But she added: "We simply don't have the wheat, don't have the crop right now. It's kind of a moot point."