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Oct 30 - Nov 05, 2000

12 states account for 63% of Pakistan imports in '94-99

Twelve countries accounted for more than 63 per cent of Pakistan's imports Japan in the lead with highest import bill, indicates an analysis of the official trade statistics for five-year period, during 1994-99.

The other main sources of imported commodities are: USA, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China, United Kingdom, Dubai, South Korea, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. In 1994-95, imports from these top-12 countries had constituted 67.4% of total figures. By 1998-99, their share had registered a decline of 4.3%.

Interestingly, the $9.43 billion import bill for 1998-99 was lower than $10.39 billion for 1994-95 or by 9.26%, although during the intervening years it amounted to $11.8 billion in 1995-96; to $11.89 billion in 1996-97; and to $11.12 billion in 1997-98.

As a reflection of these fluctuations during the period under review, the proportion of exports to imports registered a significant improvement from 78.27% in 1994-95 to 82.47% in 1998-99.

The decline in imports during this period was mainly due to the drop in import machinery excluding transport equipment, petroleum & petroleum products, transport equipment, edible oils, iron & steel etc.

Chemicals constituted the highest share of total imports of Pakistan in 1998-99 i.e 19.4%. These were followed by machinery excluding transport equipment (17.8%), petroleum & petroleum (15.5%), edible oil (8.7%), transport equipment (5.7%), iron & steel (3.1%) and tea (2.4%).

Japan, whose exports in 1998-99 totalled $786 million, came out to be the country claiming the highest 8.3% share in Pakistan's import bill. This resulted in a trade deficit of $0.51 billion in that year with that country alone. This is well nigh one-third of the total trade deficit of $1.65 billion incurred by Pakistan.

Indian sugar arrives

The un-loading of 13,125 metric tons of Indian sugar will begin shortly as the ship Atlantic Spirit has already berthed on Tuesday night.

Due to absence of ready buyers, the Trading Corporation of Pakistan, has decided to keep the commodity at its Korangi Godowns.

According to TCP chairman, Masood Alam Rizvi, Canteen Stores Department (CSD) has agreed to take around 500 metric tons while the Corporation intends to give the rest of the quantity to Utility Stores Corporation (USC) for which negotiations are underway.

In case the USC disagrees to lift the sugar, Mr Rizvi said we will float tenders for its sales.

"TCP is not in a hurry to issue tender right now because we have to review the demand situation which will definitely go up in Ramazan," he told on Wednesday.

FRC to evolve fertilizer import plan

The government has called an emergency meeting of the Fertilizer Review Committee (FRC) on Thursday to evolve a strategy, in collaboration with the private sector, for the import of the commodity during the Rabi season.

The meeting has been called because of the fear of urea shortage during January to March 2001, as its local production has been stopped after a blast at the Pak-American Fertilizer factory.

The meeting, to be presided over by Agriculture Secretary Zafar Altaf, will also consider the post-exemption situation after the withdrawal of 30 per cent cash margin on LCs for fertilizer imports.

It will also discuss month-wise position of the supply/demand off-take of fertilizer during last Kharif when FFC/NFC exported 123,000 tons of urea against the ECC's approved quantity of 100,000 tons. The working paper has suggested that the fertilizer units should continue their urea production during the coming three months to overcome the expected shortages.

Saudi Arabia may buy Pakistan wheat

Saudi Arabia has expressed its willingness to purchase 1 million ton of wheat, worth $120 million, from Pakistan, official sources said.

The federal government has reportedly withdrawn its decision to export 2 million tons of wheat from its surplus stocks owing to bleak future of crop next year.

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), on the other hand has informed the government that it has received positive response from Saudi Arabia regarding the sale of wheat and that it was also likely to strike deals with Dubai and UK also.

No further reduction: Razak

Pakistan has agreed with IMF to reduce its import tariff to 25 per cent from January 1, 2003, said the Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production, Razak Dawood. "The reduction from 30 per cent, on January 1, 2002 to 25 per cent by January 1, 2003 is part of our negotiations with the IMF", disclosed the commerce minister.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, he said that there would not be any further reduction in the import tariff. He said reduction of tariff to 25 per cent was unavoidable for Pakistan. "Certainly there will be a negative revenue impact due to this eventual 25 per cent import tariff", he conceded.

Thailand keen on joint ventures

Thailand is keen to develop joint ventures in business with Pakistan to boost trade which now totals only $155 million per annum, Wairak Walairat, Minister-Counsellor (Commercial) of Thai Embassy told the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Monday.

Speaking at the ICCI, he said Thailand's exports to the outside world were of the order of $ 60 million last year.

APTMA seeks ban on raw cotton export

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association, Sindh-Balochistan zone has urged the government not to allow raw cotton export until the crop size was determined.

This demand was raised in an emergent meeting of APTMA, SB Zone and was presided over by its Chairman Mushtaq Ahmed Vohra on Thursday.

After examining the present price pattern and supply of cotton, APTMA chairman suggested that export of cotton should not be allowed till the size of the crop was determined.