Nov 13 -
Pakistan exports reach $2.9bn during July-Oct
Pakistan's merchandise exports totalled $2.97
billion during the period July-October 2000, showing an increase of
13.36 per cent over the corresponding period of previous year.
The imports also soared by 14.95 per cent to $3.69
billion during the same period, cancelling the positive effect of
impressive rise in exports on the balance of payments situation,
according to the aggregate trade figures made available by the
ministry of commerce.
Consequently, the trade deficit rose to $720
million in the first four months of 2000-01. This is 22 per cent more
than that in the corresponding period of previous year. The government
had announced that the trade deficit during 2000-01 would be reduced
to $800 million.
The target for exports set out in the trade policy
for the current fiscal is $10 billion. The statistics showed that the
country has achieved only 29.7 per cent of that target. This means
that the country has to cover over 70 per cent of the target in the
remaining 66 per cent of the year.
As a result of huge jump in imports during the
period under review, the proportion covered by exports also registered
a sharp decrease. Whereas in July-October 1999, exports had accounted
for 81.62 per cent, their ratio to imports dropped to 80.49 per cent
Merchandise exports during the month of October
2000, amounted to $744 million, which is 9.9 per cent more than the
figure for October 1999. It also showed an increase of 6.29 per cent
over the exports during September 2000.
Further analysis of the foreign trade statistics
showed that in the single month of October 2000, the export-import gap
at $216 million was double than that in the corresponding month of
Condition of 50% export may go
The federal government is considering removing the
condition of exporting 50 per cent of products by industries exempted
from payment of import duty on plant and machinery in the budget
The export industry is now demanding that the
condition of 50 per cent export be waived for allowing duty-free
import of machinery as, according to them, the condition of export
market is not favourable and they have failed to export the required
volume of their products.
The export industry had requested before the budget
for allowing duty-free import of machinery, listed as not-locally-made
(NLM). They had committed to ensure exportable surplus to the extent
of 50 per cent of their total production.
Rise in exports despite sanctions
Sanctions and lower capital inflows over the years
have hit imports from developed countries and turned Pakistan's
traditional trade deficit with donor states into substantial
surpluses, specially with the USA emerging by far the largest export
Despite the shrinking share of industrialized world
in country's foreign trade, exports to the USA have soared to nearly
22 per cent of total sale of merchandize, exceeding imports by well
over $1 billion on an annual basis.
In 1998-99, export earnings from USA touched $1,818
million against imports of $766 million, down from $1135 million a
year earlier, resulting in favourable trade balance of $1,052 million.
Simultaneously, the share of G-8 members in overall imports has
declined from 34.2 per cent in 1997-98 to 30.5 per cent in 1998-99, a
fall from $3.4 billion to under $3 billion. Pakistan's export to this
club of industrial giants has remained stagnant at around $3.9
Reduction in duty to avert penalty
The government has asked the Central Board of
Revenue to reduce import duty on 14 US textile items into Pakistan by
10pc to avert a penalty of $300 million.
The penalty threat is posed by the American Textile
Manufacturers' Institute (ATMI), through an application filed with the
US Department of Commerce against Islamabad's refusal to reduce the
import duty rate on these items under the Generalised System of
Preferences (GSP) Scheme.
Trade moot in Toronto on cards
Plans for holding trade conference and single
country exhibition in Toronto are on top of the list of
recommendations, recently made by the Canada-based Pakistani mission
which is endeavouring to boost Islamabad's exports to North America.
The recommendations, which were finalized this week
after a series of meetings held between Pakistani High Commissioner to
Canada Tariq Altaf and local industrialists, traders and businessmen,
have been sent to all concerned departments in Islamabad, including
the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).
Forex incentives for exporters
The government has announced that in future there
would be no restrictions on quantities, and evidence on foreign
exchange paid by the persons exporting goods as accompanied baggage,
on travelling abroad.
The announcement came in line with the Export
Policy Order-2000, with instructions to relevant customs authorities.
Export of items listed as "banned" would, however, not be
allowed as accompanied baggage.
Urea import target up
The government has enhanced its urea fertilizer
import target for the rabi-2000 from 100,000 tons to 150,000 tons
after the Sui gas company refused to supply additional gas to the
local fertilizer plants during winter.
Pakistan, which was exporting urea till last month
due to surplus production, is now itself facing shortage as two local
fertilizer units — NFC and FFC — in a clear violation of the
Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) decision, exported 135,000 tons
of fertilizer against the approved quantity of 100,000 tons till
Banks cut LC margin
Banks on Monday slashed the cash margin from 25 to
15 per cent on all imports but did not expand the list of the items
exempted from the margin.