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Software exports target raised to $1bn by 2005

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Pakistan has targeted to raise its software exports to dollars one billion mark by the year 2005 from the present $30m, said deputy chairman Planning Comrnission, Ahsan Iqbal.

Addressing a seminar on Electronic Business by Intel Corporation Wednesday, he said the government intends to provide 0.3 million Internet connections in the next three years.

He said Pakistan has a rich potential but resource gap crippled the progress in information technology.

In order to reduce the resource gap, the government has planned to open new centres of excellence for information technology to bridge the gap and promote human resource development.

He called upon the private sector to come forward and take the lead in the development of information technology.

MoU signed to promote trade ties

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The MoU has been signed to provide a 'firm basis for stronger economic ties between business communities of the two countries'.

Bedwear exports losing markets

The local bedwear exports, which have hitherto performed well despite general decline in textile sector, face stiff competition from Turkey vis-a-vis unit price and delivery time for consignments.

Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association (PBEA) Chairman Shabir Ahmed said in a statement that the performance of this sector had so far been satisfactory due to aggressive marketing, but now Turkey was offering cheaper prices and quick delivery of goods to the European buyers of Pakistani goods.

Exports to Hong Kong on the rise

Hong Kong has emerged as the second important export market for Pakistan after USA with Pakistan's total export in '98 being $630.21m and imports $ 75.790m, reflecting a steep balance of trade in favour of Pakistan.

Pakistan's export items include cotton fabric, leather, marine products, fresh fruits, guar gum, cotton waste, marble, carpet and pine nuts. The non-traditional exports increased manifold during the last two years.

More than $1bn third country export from Pakistan of textile good generated from Hong Kong and around 23 multinational companies dealing with textile made-ups have established their own buying and sourcing offices in Pakistan.

According to officials, more than $359m portfolio investments in Pakistan stock exchanges are from Hong Kong while a number of International Investment Banks and Brokerage Houses have either opened their offices in Pakistan or have entered into a joint venture collaboration arrangement with local companies.

The Consular officials says a number of joint ventures with Hong Kong based companies are operating in Pakistan, notably textile accessories, agricultural, chemicals, food stuff, textile clothing, printing ink, cellular telephones and toys.

Pakistan participates each year in international exhibitions held in Hong Kong for textile and fashion, leather and leather finished goods, floor coverings, writing instruments, toys and sport goods.

Hong Kong which returned to China last year after 100 years as a British Colony is engaged in international trade of over $376bn.

MoU signed

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), International Credit Information Ltd (ICIL) and Dun and Bradstreet (D&B), a US-based global provider of business information, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for export facilitation agreement.

According to a press release, the accord will define the measures which the three parties intend to take to facilitate global networking of Pakistani exporters.

The EPB will be able to provide Pakistani exporters with easy access to D&B's 53 million business information records worldwide.

480,000 tons of apple produced

Balochistan produces 480,000 tons of apple annually and only 3000 tons out of it were exported last year.

This was stated by Assistant Director Export Promotion Bureau Quetta (EPB) Mohammad Naeem on Saturday.

He said 30% of the production go waste due to absence of a Treatment Plant.

He said holding of apple shows played an important role to introduce the apple of Balochistan which is the best in quality compared to the apple of the other countries. The first apple show was held in '94 as a result of which 500 tons of apple were exported while last year it reached 3000 tons, he said.

Apples from Balochistan were being exported to Sri Lanka and England besides Gulf States, he added.

Afghan Transit Trade

Governor Balochistan has informed the Prime Minister that substantial chunk of government revenue can be saved if the import of 'right-hand drive' vehicles are put on negative list in Afghan Transit Trade. In Afghanistan the traffic is left hand and only 'left-hand drive' vehicles suit that country. There appears no justification to allow import of 'right-hand drive' vehicles in Afghan Transit Trade. This step will minimize the chances of smuggling vehicles into Pakistan from across our western porous border.

52-member business council set up

The government has set up a high profile 52-member "Pakistan Business Council" to have a greater public and private sector partnership aimed at particularly removing impediments to business growth and development.

"The council will work as a common corporate entity and will be an institutional form of private and public sector partnership", said Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Ahsan Iqbal.

Trade bodies flay PTCL hike

Trade organizations have condemned the PTCL hike and urged the prime minister to reject it so that the people could be saved from this communication onslaught.

The PTCL decision to enhance the rates of local calls, telephone connection fee and monthly line rent of digital and non-digital telephone connections should strongly be condemned by the nation, they added.