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Jul 24 -30, 2000

Leather makers problems to be discussed

The problems underlying stagnation in the export of leather manufactures will be considered at a meeting to be held at Lahore on July 22 under chairmanship of the Federal Minister for Commerce & Industries, Razzaq Daud.

The leather manufactures' exports, after peaking at $403.6m in '96-97, have been in decline since then. In '97-98, these crossed $371.6m, $358.0m in '98-99 and $326.9m in '99-2000.

To be attended by the stake-holders, the meeting has been called to formulate a strategy for stemming the rot and augmenting exports, a reliable source told.

The first meeting was held in this connection under chairmanship of the Secretary, Ministries & Industries, last April.

In that meeting, producers and exporters had pointed out numerous problems relating to the tariff structure, infrastructure as well as overall socio-political situation prevailing in the country.

The exporters pointed out, for example, that the duties and taxes levied on import of raw hides and skins were not refundable under export rebate scheme.

They demanded import of these items on zero rate basis. They demanded, inter alia, that:

-raw hides and skins, being agricultural produce, be excluded from sales tax to save the business interests of tanneries which are a part of documented economy;

-duty-free import of components/accessories for leather garments, gloves, footwear etc. meant for export may be allowed up to 5% of FOB of value of exports;

-a uniform rate of 5% be levied on import of all inputs imported for manufacture of goods for export;

-as all the accessories and components required for exportable footwear are imported, liberal policy for import of plant and machinery be adopted.

Mango export

Pakistan earned $689 million from the export of 35,000 tons of mangoes to Middles East, Europe and America during 1999.

According to official sources, the country earned $715 million in 1997-98 alone thanks to a bumper mango production.

He said, the importers in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong have shown interest in importing Sindhri, Chounsa and Bagan-Pali varieties of mangoes from Pakistan which produces more than one million tons mangoes annually.

Japan and China are also potential markets for Pakistani mangoes which need to be exploited, he added.

The mango orchards, he said, are spread over 94,000 hectares in Multan, Vehari, Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur, Nawab Shah, Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Hyderabad districts of Punjab and Sindh provinces.

The varieties including, Dosehri, Anwar Rathore, Kala Chonsa, Samar Bahishat Chonsa, Langra, Malda, Faiz Kareem, Sindhri, White Chonsa, Fajri, Sanglakhi, Tamuria, Banarsi Langra, Husan Ara, Began Pali.

Export of more urea fertilizer allowed

The Government has allowed export of additional 150,000 metric tons of urea fertilizer with immediate effect.

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has been directed to monitor fertilizer export so that no shortage or price increase takes place in the market.

Official sources told on Thursday the approval was given by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) which met last Friday.

Answering a question, sources said due to some unknown reasons, decision to allow the urea export could not be announced after the meeting in the press release.

When contacted, finance minister Shaukat Aziz confirmed the decision to permit export of 150,000 tons of urea in the last meeting of the ECC.

Mango festival opens in Paris

A Pakistani Mango Festival — the first ever in France — has been inaugurated at the Chancery premises of the Pakistan Embassy in Paris on Monday.

The festival organized by the Embassy in coordination with the Export Promotion Bureau of Pakistan aims at boosting the exports of Pakistani mangoes to France.

The festival was inaugurated by Ambassador of Pakistan, Shaharyar M. Khan. A team of Pakistani exporters of mangoes were also present on the occasion. More than 2200 Kgs of three varieties of mangoes namely "Chaunsa", "Sindhri" and "Anwar Ratol" were displayed.

Imports to cost more as forex band lifted

Imports will be more expensive during the current fiscal after the lifting of unofficial band on inter-banking currency dealings by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the importers will have to buy dollars from the open market to foot their bills.

"The central bank move appears to limit imports in a bid to cut the increasing trade deficit, which now stands at $1.6 billion," a banker said.

There was, however, no immediate impact on the dollar in kerb as it stood unchanged at the previous level of Rs 54.93 and 54.98 a dollar. But towards closing hours demands raised to Rs 55.10.

Swap ratio proposed at one for three

In the on-going merger of Dhan Fibres Limited with Dewan Salman Fibre Limited, the swap ratio has been proposed at one-for-three. This was indicated in separate but simultaneous announcements by both companies at the stock exchange on Wednesday afternoon.

The news was greeted by the market with a mixed response. While the share in Dewan Salman gained 50 paisa to close the day at Rs 28.60 with trading seen in 7.3 million shares, the Dhan Fibre stock shed 70 paisa to end at Rs9.85 with business in 12.2 million shares.

British diplomat on investment

The Deputy Head of the Mission, British Deputy High Commission, Richard Hyde has attributed the slow foreign investment in Pakistan to poor projection by overseas press.

"The foreign press often seems to project Pakistan's problems rather than its qualities," he said while addressing the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) on Thursday. "We realize that Pakistan is passing through a tough phase of economic reforms and do not underestimate the difficulties the business is currently facing," Hyde said.