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August 15, 1999

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
  5. Trade

US reluctant to lift quota curb on combed cotton yarn

The US government is reluctant to rescind the decision of imposition of quota restraint on import of combed cotton yarn from Pakistan despite the fact it has failed to come up with convincing argument in support of its allegation that the commodity was being dumped in its market.

After receiving Call Notice on category 301 (combed cotton yarn) late last year, Pakistan took up the case to Textile Monitoring Body (TMB) to defend its interest.

The TMB after hearing both the sides gave a decision in favour of Pakistan and directed US government to rescind its earlier decision of imposing quota restriction.

Even after the expiry of 30-days in the last week of July, '99 the US government has not acted on the TMB recommendation which strongly indicates that quota on Pakistani combed cotton yarn might stay.

It is understood that the government of Pakistan on taking a principled position would be taking up the case with Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of WTO, for which there is no time bar.

While strongly criticising unilateral action of US government exporters said: 'on one hand the West has been strongly advocating free global market but on the other they are imposing such restriction which itself negate their actions and deeds.'

The export of combed cotton yarn from Pakistan to US in '99 so far remained slack, and exporters argue that if the West was not even ready to tolerate semi-finished goods from the developing nations, how come they want us to remove all sort of barriers to allow their products make a free entry into our markets.

Talks on avoidance of double taxation

Pakistan and Nepal have agreed to work out a draft agreement for avoidance of double taxation.

Central Board of Revenue and a Nepalese delegation held talks on Tuesday for concluding an agreement for avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income, says a CBR press release.

Govt corpns not to open LCs sans funds  

The Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) has directed that Letters of Credit (LCs) for imports would not be opened by government departments and corporations without the availability of funds for duties, taxes and other incidental charges in the budget.

The ECC, which met on Tuesday with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the chair, reviewed the report of a standing committee on clearance of consignments held up at the Karachi Port Trust and Port Qasim Authority for nonpayment of dues.

Privatization of GCP units under way

The Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mian Mohammad Yasin Wattoo, told the Senate on Wednesday that the government had denationalised three ghee producing units, while the process for the rest was under way.

Standing in for the absent minister of industries and production, Yasin Wattoo said disinvestment of 10 units had been deferred for various reasons. He did not elaborate.

Wapda to get $350m relief

Pushed by the World Bank, discussion between the government and the Hub Power Company are gradually moving towards an agreement whereby Wapda would get a relief of 350 million dollars, the government would get its energy sector loans restructured by the donors and the relief thus provided to the government and its institutions would automatically pass on to Hubco.

Govt to purchase gas

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources will henceforth have its gas purchase agreements with the oil and gas exploration and development (E&D) companies, approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet.

Lately, the ministry and the E& D companies have discussed the gas price structure threadbare. They have reached an understanding and accordingly these agreements will be inked after the approval of the ECC.

Rs119bn credit plan for private sector

The board of directors of State Bank, which met in Lahore on Saturday, approved the annual credit plan for fiscal 1999-2000 with Rs 119 billion credit allocation for the private sector

An SBP press release issued here said that the meeting chaired by SBP Governor Dr Muhammad Yaqub reviewed recent developments in the areas of monetary system, balance of payments and exchange market, besides approving the credit plan. The meeting also approved the SBP annual accounts for 1998/99.

Govt-Forbes fishing accord ends: EPB chief

Mr. Wajid Jawad, Chairman, Export Promotion Bureau, said here on Saturday that the Government-Forbes agreement for fishing off Gwadar coast has ended as the American company has failed to honour some of the commitments.

Addressing a press conference at a local hotel, he said that the Forbes was a dead issue now, adding that the company, introduced by an American Ambassador has failed in meeting some of the requirements.

He said the government may take some action against the company for letting it down.

Revival of sick units could boost exports

With no fresh investment coming from abroad as well as local entrepreneurs, the only way left to enhance exports in a short period is to revive sick and closed industrial units at the earliest, industralists said here Saturday.

According some estimates out of 4500 sick or closed industrial units having a total defaulted loans of over Rs 145 billion, only half of them could be revived.

The world standard for industrial output in term of asset/ turnover ratio comes to 1:2 but even if the same is narrowed down to 1:1 ratio, this would mean that half of the sick and closed units could fetch around $1.5 billion in exports.

Body to propose incentives for EPZs

The Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet (ECC) constituted here on Tuesday a committee to draw a package of incentives for attracting investment in Export Processing Zones (EPZs).

Secretary Industries and Production Abu Shamim Arif will be the convener of the committee comprising secretaries finance, commerce, Board of Investment (BoI), Revenue Division, Labour Division and EPZA Chairman.

The ECC, which was presided over by Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar reviewed a report on the performance of Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) with a view to attracting investment and enhancing exports from various zones in the country.

The committee has been asked to submit its report by Aug 31, 1999 by bringing about consistency in various government policies so that both local and foreign investment could be attracted in EPZs.