Libya taps Polish production glut

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Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi's visit here reportedly produced new openings for economically hard-pressed Poland in Libya, one of the most dollar-rich countries of the third world, Monitor correspondent Eric Bourne reports.

Poland's anticipated economic reform, involving big cutbacks in investment and abandonment of expensive, unfinished projects, will leave much of the country's production capacity idle. Its communist allies have undertaken to use some of it, but much will remain unused.

Under an agreement signed here Sept. 10, Libya will invest in manufacturing units otherwise liable to closure. In return Poland is to step up its own investments in Libya's industrialization. A joint permanent commission will promote the new exchanges.

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Already 14,000 Polish construction workers, geologists, architects, doctors, and teachers are assisting in the modernization of Libya's infrastructure. Others are scheduled to work on contracts said to be worth almost $1 billion to the Poles by 1985 in terms of Polish goods and services.

Libya is Poland's biggest partner in ordinary trade exchanges with developing countries. Last year it purchased a record $100 million of Polish building equipment and vehicles, telephones, and textiles, etc., and paid for them, not in oil, but in Poland's even more pressing need - hard cash.

Poland is increasingly seeking trade and cooperation links with hard currency holding states outside the Western sanctions area. Contracts were recently expanded with both Kuwait and Venezuela.

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