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  5. Trade

$9bn export target set in trade policy

The government on Wednesday announced its Trade Policy for 1999-2000 that offers a number of new concessions and reliefs, including permission for exporting cotton throughout the year.

The policy promises to substantially increase Pakistan's foreign exchange earning by diversifying its exports with a view to further lowering the trade deficit.

A number of tax exemptions were also offered to facilitate the exporters and importers.

Giving details of the new policy on radio and TV, Finance and Commerce Minister Ishaq Dar said that "serious efforts" had been made to remove constraints of the exporters and importers.

"The main thrust is going to be on the value addition for which all possible concessions and incentives are being given," he emphasized.

The minister set new exports target at $9 billion and for imports at $9.8 billion, slicing down the trade gap to $800 million against the trade deficit of $1.57 billion during the last financial year.

He said the new policy needed the full support of private sector in order to considerably enhancing investments, exports and growth process.

Earlier, the federal cabinet approved the trade policy with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressing the hope that it would offer more jobs and help increase the country's exports.

Mr Dar said that many Pakistan's exports were being done through courier services and postal services and added that Pakistan nationals and foreign passengers, travelling by air, also exported goods under the Personal Baggage Scheme. The concession of duty draw-back is not available on such exported goods.

Export prospects to Iraq

Pakistan Ambassador- designate to the Islamic Republic of Iraq, Manzar Shafiq visited the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) on Wednesday and discussed the prospects and promotion of Pakistani exports to Iraq.

RCCI President Ashfaq Mahmud Khan while welcoming the chief guest congratulated him on his appointment as the Ambassador to Iraq and wished him well in the discharge of his new responsibilities.

The RCCI President hoped that he will do his best for the in promotion of exports of Pakistani products in Iraq.

He said a thorough survey of the Iraqi market, a detailed report on the opportunities available for the Pakistani entrepreneurs and mode of payment and other procedures can help the Pakistani exporters to boost trade.

Carpet sector exports suffer $10m loss

Despite global recession and erosion in the unit value the carpet industry of Pakistan has generated $190.063 million in 1998-99, thus facing a marginal decline of 5.05 percent in its exports.

In value the carpet sector suffered $10.112 million fall in its exports in the fiscal year 1998-99.

However, lucrative exchange rate mechanism has compensated the carpet exporters very much as the exporters have got Rs 851 million more than 1997-98. During last year the exporters encashed a total of Rs 9.561 billion as against Rs 8.71 billion in its preceding year.

Import of spices, soyabean oil rise steeply

Import of sugar fell by 92.59% in 1998-99, while that of spices and soyabean oil increased by 171% and 126%, respectively.

The Statistics Division report for the financial year 1998-99 import bill says that Pakistan shelled out $ 413.70 million on import of sugar in 1997-98, while the import bill of sugar in 1998-99 was $ 3.066 million only.

The import bill of spices was $12.619 million in 1997-98, while it shot up to $34.257 million in 98-99. Likewise, the import of soyabean oil in 1997-98 valued only $ 99.017 million, while its value in 1998-99 rose to $ 223.809 million.

Bedwear exports surge by 17.63pc in 1998-99

Exports of bedwear recorded a remarkable rise of 17.63 per cent during financial year 1998-99, followed by knitwear showing 5.63 per cent increase.

According to official figures bedwear exports fetched $598.473 million as against $508.795 million of last year. Similarly, exports of knitwear earned $735.933 million compared to $696.705 million of last year.

The rise in bedwear exports is a laudable achievement particularly when there is a recession in world market. This could also be taken that if aggressive marketing is done there was no reason why more goods could not be sold even under difficult economic conditions.

Exports of textile goods fall by 19.68pc

Statistics Division announced here on Monday that export of traditional commodities and textile manufactures in the financial year 1998-99 registered a decrease in value by 19.82% and 19.68%, respectively, while exports in other major groups decreased by 14.31%, over the value of the same in 1997-98.

Decline in export of raw cotton by (98.16%), tarpaulin and canvas goods (38%), synthetics fabrics (35%), and sports goods (33.09%) also contributed significandy to fall in foreign exchange earnings.

Official statistics also showed that the traditional exports in 1998-98 were valued at $980.327 million while their value in 1997-98 was $1.222 billion (less by $242.347 million). Exports of textile related goods in 1998-99 valued $4.899 billion while their value in 1997-98 was $5.522 billion (less by $623 million).

Japanese envoy opposes imports of used cars

Ambassador of Japan in Islamabad, Minoru Kubota, has urged the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif not to allow import of complete and used cars at very low duty.

It was necessary that the government of Pakistan should take all possible measures to promote and protect the industry at a time when it was faced with tough competition from outside, he said.