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Aug 21 -27, 2000

Iran agrees to buy wheat

Pakistan has changed its wheat export policy after Afghanistan refused to import the commodity on a government-to-government basis.

Sources said that now the wheat would be exported to Iran which, in a major development, accepted the samples sent to Tehran for "technical analysis".

Pakistan's recent sale of 1 million ton wheat to two private parties encouraged Kabul to turn down Islamabad's sale proposal as, according to sources, private contractors had indicated that they would sell the commodity in Afghanistan.

Tehran informed Islamabad that its annual wheat requirement was 5 million tons and inquired how much quantity Pakistan could export to Iran during 2000.

Iran's Government Trading Corporation (GTC) informed the Pakistan government through a fax on Aug 12, that "we have been advised by our lab that the analysis result of wheat samples provided by Pakistan are satisfactory".

The commercial consular to Iran, Khalid Idrees, also faxed a message to the ministry of commerce, saying the Iranian government had formally informed that the samples of Pakistan wheat were acceptable. He stressed the need for sending immediately a formal offer of wheat sale to the GTC, said an official.

In reply to a question, the official said that Kabul was not ready to buy the commodity at the rate of Rs9,000 per ton as offered by Pakistan. Kabul wanted it Rs 8,000 per ton. The Afghan offer did not suit Pakistan as it did not cover incidental charges of wheat.

A delegation of the Kabul government was due in Islamabad early this month to negotiate the deal. In the meantime, Islamabad signed contracts for the export of 1 million tons to Afghanistan with two private parties.

Imports fail to stabilize sugar prices

Pakistan has imported around 200,000-250,000 metric tons of sugar during the last three months, but the frequent imports failed to stabilize prices which are rising consistently.

According to a daily market report of ministry of food, agriculture and livestock, the average wholesale market price of sugar surged to Rs1,349 per 50kg in Lahore on Wednesday as compared to Rs1,301 three days back, while in Peshawar it is now quoted at Rs1,330 per 50kg bag as against Rs1,302.

Importers say that at retail level it is selling at Rs27.50-28.00 per kg in Punjab.

TCP okays foreign bidding

Trading Corporation of Pakistan on Wednesday approved three offers from foreign buyers for 30,000 bales of various varieties.

TCP chairman Fazlur Rehman said the Price Evaluation Committee approved the offers of Rally Brothers for the sale of 5,000 bales of Afzal-type at the rate of 46.55 cents per pound.

For Elaka, Paul Rhein Hart quoted a price of 44.70 cents per pound for 15,000 bales and Rally Brothers offered 43.70 cents for 10,000 bales of Adnas.

Rehman said the nine international merchants from USA, UK, Germany, Italy and Switzerland participated in the bidding.

The Corporation had floated one international tender for the export of 30,000 cotton bales last week.

Pakistan pavilion in Hanover

Pakistan Pavilion is attracting crowd of foreign investors at international Expo-2000 in Hanover, Germany. According to a message received on Tuesday from Germany, former Zonal Chairman and Vice President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries, Iftikhar Ali Malik who is currently visiting the expo said that four companies of Pakistan have set up their stalls in the pavilion comprising an area of 720 square meters. Foreign investors are taking keen interest in Pakistani top quality products especially in marble, copper, leather garments and wooden items. Expo which commenced on June 1 will continue till Oct 31.

ST refund allowed to textile exporters

Operation of tax rules have been suspended to allow textile exporters avail themselves of sales tax refunds on exports up to Sept 30, 2000, without submitting invoices on all imported items they purchase for use in the export manufacture.

The Central Board of Revenue has directed all 12 sales tax collectorates in the country not to enforce these rules announced last month banning payment of refunds to textile exporters failing to produce invoices on goods (make/quantity/nature) which have been used in manufacture and against which refunds are claimed. This clause was announced by the CBR last month terming it "long overdue and most effective deterrent against frauds in availing sales tax refunds". The clause is called "same-state-goods invoice for refund-claim", which has now been rendered inoperative.

Duty on palm kernel oil imports

Import Duty rate on palm kernel oil is being reduced from 35% to 10%, on the recommendation of the Tariff Anomaly Committee.

The duty was increased in the Finance Ordinance 2000, which is being amended, say informed sources. The CBR has processed the case and a draft amendment has been sent to Law and Justice Division. The committee, in its note to the CBR, has said: "it has been found that reduction of duty on crude palm kernel oil was recommended by another committee. The recommendation for reducing it to 10% does not appear to be implemented. It is therefore recommended that the rate of duty on the item be reduced from 35% to 10%".

Japan ready to lift ban

Japan has expressed its readiness to lift ban on the import of fresh mangoes from Pakistan on the condition of measures to prevent invasion of Oriental Fruit Flies at the time of shipment.

Japan banned import of fresh mangoes from Pakistan after reports of fruit flies attack on the consignments at the time of shipment at Karachi port. Official sources told on Thursday that in this regard, Japan has provided technical guidelines for efficient planning.