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Oct 09 - 15, 2000

$221m LCs for refined sugar

Importers have opened letters of credits (LCs) worth $221 million up to Sept 15, for the import of 842,659 metric tons refined sugar, banking sources told.

On the other hand, LCs worth $14 million have been opened up to Oct 2, for import of 56,300mt of raw sugar for refining into white sugar, sources further said.

But people associated with this trade have other views. Sugar trade sources said that the importers have cancelled LCs of around 100,000-125,000mt (refined sugar) owing to rising cost in international markets.

Likewise, a spokesman of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) said that around 10-12 millers of Sindh and Punjab have opened LCs for the import of 60,000mt raw sugar mainly from Brazil.

He said the shipment is likely to arrive in November or December. He did not mention as to which rate the commodity will arrive. The import of raw sugar will save foreign exchange spending by $50-60 less per metric ton of raw sugar imports due to difference in prices of raw and refined sugar.

Importers said around 500,000mt refined sugar have already arrived in the country. They added out of six ships, carrying around 70,000-80,000mt, five ships have already arrived at the Karachi Port, unloading the commodity while another ship is due on October 8.

Frequent arrivals of imported sugar, however, failed to lower its prices, which, still selling at Rs27-28 per kg at the retail level.

The landed cost of Thai and Chinese sugar now ranges between Rs25.50-26.50 per kg and according to importers they are selling the products at Rs24.50 and Rs26 per kg keeping in view the market conditions.

On the other side, millers and the government have failed to fix a specific date for the start of cane crushing despite several meetings.

Fruit exports rise by three fold

Fruits exports have increased to Rs4.1 billion in 1999-2000 from Rs1.5 billion in 1995-96, according to agriculture ministry.

The information has been provided by the ministry to Federal Export Promotion Board (FEPB) which is meeting on Monday, with the chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf in the chair, to review production and export of fruits, vegetables and condiments.

The agriculture ministry has also submitted a plan to increase the export of non-traditional fruits like figs, cherry, apricot, particularly from Northern areas.

Agriculture Minister Dr Shafqat Ali Shah will brief the board regarding the production and export of fruits and vegetables.

The ministry has informed that the major contribution in fruit exports during five year period was of dry dates followed by citrus and mangoes. Fruits are grown on an area of 0.640 million hectares, which is 3 per cent of the total cultivated area of 21.87 million hectares. The area under fruits has doubled during the last 20 years.

Indonesia to buy 5 lakh bales of cotton

Indonesian trade delegation, headed by Minardje Halim, has shown its keenness to buy about 5 lakh bales of Pakistani cotton, provided it was "uncontaminated" and of good quality.

Indonesian trade delegation, accompanied by ambassador Jack Said Gaffar, on Tuesday visited a number of ginning factories and cotton fields, on a buying mission and may become permanent buyer of Pakistani cotton.

Halim, who had a meeting with the chairman of Pakistan cotton ginners association (PCGA) and president, Multan chambers of commerce and industry (MCCI), Khawaja Mohammed Yousuf, later said Indonesia had stored 8 million spindles and was exporting about $8 billion textile products.

The delegation intends to buy cotton directly from ginners instead going to TCP. The delegation was ready to pay according to international market rates.

Cameroon is a potential rice market

African rice importing countries have adequate potential to absorb surplus Pakistani rice, Honorary Consul, Cameroon Consulate in Pakistan S.A. Bari Jelani said Wednesday.

He said Cameroon importers have recently purchased a sizeable quantity of Pakistani rice and there is still a large untapped market in Cameroon for rice.

He suggested that the rice exporters should form a delegation and through Export Promotion Bureau, they should visit the African rice importing countries to explore the new markets for Pakistani rice. He also offered his assistance in formation of a delegation and their contacts/meetings with Cameroon importers.

HEB to be set up

Horticultural Export Board (HEB) will be set up having representation from public and private sector to boost export of horticulture products. The decision was taken at a meeting of the EPB held under the chairmanship of the chief executive Gen Pervez Musharraf on Monday.

Pakistan to boost trade ties with Kazakhstan

Pakistan and Kazakhastan have agreed to sign a five-year-long term agreement to undertake mutual steps for the development of agriculture, trade, economic, science- technical and cultural ties.

Officials told on Monday that under the proposed arrangements to be given a formal shape shortly, both the countries shall promote long-term cooperation in the field of industrial production, trade, telecommunication and agriculture production in particular to establish new and direct economic links between the enterprises.

The agreement will be initially signed for next five years and could be renewable if both the parties agree to do so.

Business invitation for Jakarta Fair

Indonesian ambassador, Jack Said Gaffar, has invited Pakistani business community to "Jakarta Trade Fair", scheduled be held in Indonesia from October 18 to 22.

Speaking at Sialkot chamber of commerce and industry, he said the participation in forthcoming trade fair will be helpful in further strengthening the trade relations and provide an opportunity for understanding market trends as well as bringing closer the businessmen, he said.