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August 22, 1999

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

Govt may import 2-2.5m tons of wheat

The government is finalizing the wheat import programme for 2 million to 2.5 million tons for this season after ascertaining the province-wise requirements in the Wheat Coordination Committee meeting being held on Saturday in Islamabad.

This wheat import programme is being discussed amid reports that international prices are down in range of 115 to 117 dollars a ton but freight cost is moving up because of escalation in bunker rates.

International commodity brokers quoted on Monday white soft wheat at 115.10 dollars per ton for August and at 116.94 for September.

Market sources believe that USA is expected to be the main wheat supplier to Pakistan this season. At least 115 million dollars are available right now to finance for 0.9 million tons to 1.0 million tons with possibility of additional equal amount being offered as credit for more wheat.

Well placed sources in Karachi said on Thursday that Sindh Food Department officials are carrying a detailed brief on the provincial wheat requirement in the Saturday meeting.

"Sindh may ask for 0.8 million to 1.0 million tons share wheat from Islamabad," a well placed source indicated as he pointed out that there was now about 550,000 tons stock. The government succeeded in procuring over 550,000 tons of wheat from farmers this season by restricting even inter-tehsil movement within the province.

According to the market sources USA is expected to be main wheat supplier to Pakistan this season mainly because of indications of availability of over 75 million dollars soft term credit and additional availability of 41 million dollars refund from the F-16 deal.

Minimum export price of onion fixed at Rs10 per kg

The Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet (ECC) on Thursday fixed the minimum export price of onions at the rate of Rs 10 per kg against Rs 20 fixed last year.

The meeting, which was presided over by Minister for Finance and Commerce Ishaq Dar, was informed that the onion production for the current year was expected to exceed 1.30 million metric tons as against the previous year's production of 1.15 million tons, leaving a surplus of 150,000 tons for export very soon.

Minister for Food and Agriculture Abdul Sattar Lalika told after the ECC meeting that since the size of the onion crop was quite big, the decision was taken to fix the export price at the rate of Rs 10 per Kg.

To a question, the minister for food and agriculture said that a total of 300,000 metric tons of onion was likely to be exported this year from Sindh and Balochistan. The purpose of reducing the export price of onion was to benefit both the exporters and the government, he said.

Export potential

There is a great potential for exporting bicycles for adults and professionals to Uzbekistan which meets its entire demand through imports from other countries.

However, Pakistan will have to compete with cheaper bicycles imported from China, India and Russia.

Still there are bright chances if proper marketing is done by Pakistani manufacturers and exporters.

Pakistan made bicycles were displayed in Tashkent and its quality and standard was appreciated by local trading companies.

Argentina imposes quota restriction on Pak fabrics

Argentina, hitherto a non-quota country, has imposed quota restriction on the import of fabrics from Pakistan in nine categories with effect from July 31, 1999, for a period of three years.

The categories in which quota quantities have been fixed include Cat 218 (fabrics of different colours) 17,527 kg; Cat 219/220 (fabrics of special knots); 21,052 kg; Cat.224 (velvery and curly fabrics) 7,147 kg; Cat. 313/317 (Fabrics of bed sheets/serge 446,161 kg; Cat. 613/617/627 (fabrics for bed sheets/serge and discontinuous fibre and filament 5,421,090 kgs).

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has in a letter advised all exporters to make shipments in the categories to Argentina only against valid quota allocation with immediate effect.

The letter says that under the Textile Quota Management Policy for 1999, when a nonquota textile product is brought under quota restriction, the basis for the purpose of determining the quota entitlement shall be the performance during the 12 months period terminating two months preceding the month in which the request for consultation was made.

'Pakistan can earn $250m by exporting dates'

State Minister and chairman Export Promotion Bureau, Wajid Jawed said Wednesday Pakistan can earn 250 million dollars by exporting locally produced dates with the slight efforts.

He was speaking at the two-day date show organised by Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) in collaboration with Balochistan Agriculture Department.

He said most of the dates produced in Makran Division are waisted due to lack of transportation, and proper storage and packing facilities in Turbat and Panjgur.

He said top priority will be given to construct the road between Turbat and Pasni mini port to give access to date exports to Gulf countries.

Tea imports rise to 0.12m tons

Pakistan's tea imports rose to about 120,000 tons in fiscal year 1998-99 from about 99000 tons in fiscal 1997-98 due to a 20 per cent cut in customduty on tea imports.

In 1998-99 the government had reduced tea import duty from 45 to 25 per cent. Tea imports are also subject to a 15 per cent sales tax.

According to the Federal Board of Statistics Pakistan imported 119,765 tons of tea worth $223.291 million in July-June 1998-99 up from 98649 tons worth $226.717 million in July-June 1997-98.