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Nov 20 - 26, 2000

Anomalies to hit leather export

Exporters fear that a remarkable growth of 28 per cent in leather and leather goods exports during the last four months may not sustain, if the government would not remove deficiencies and bottlenecks confronting the export trade.

"There is a spurt in exports of leather and leather goods, which remained in slackness for a long spell of four years to touch a rock bottom at $535 million in the year 1997," a leading exporter said.

During 1977-83 period growth in leather and leather garments exports stood at 14 per cent and thereafter it continuously (1983- 1992) rose by 19 per cent to touch a highest level of $634 million in the year 1993.

A sudden change in fashion and style in the affluent society of the west and show-biz circles including movie and TV actors for leather jackets are likely to create strong demand for quality leather garments in coming years, said another exporter.

Moreover, rising trend of using fine leather by automobile industry for interior decoration including seat covers gave new dimension to export market, where Pakistani leather products could very well compete and have their due share of the market, exporters added.

Due to defective government policies and bureaucratic snags resulting in shortage of raw material, the leather industry is operating under capacity upto 40 per cent, chairman Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) Farrukh H Sheikh told.

Citing some of the reasons for retarding leather and leather garment exports, the PTA chief said that the SRO 1319 and SRO 417 were a few to be quoted, which were totally anti-export and anti-industry.

Textile exports up by 7.48pc

The exports of textile products have posted an increase of 7.48 per cent in dollar term and 14.71 per cent in rupee term in July-October 2000.

According to official statistics, textile exports stood at more than $ 1.889 billion during first four months of current fiscal against $ 1.758 billion same period last year.

In rupee term textile exports amounted to Rs 104.23 billion in July-October 2000 compared with Rs 90.863 billion during the same period last year.

In dollar term, the major increase was witnessed in the exports of towels which surged by 44.32 per cent, rising from $ 46.835 million in July-October 1999 to $ 67.592 million in the period under review.

The exports of synthetic textiles were up by 27.69 per cent to $ 178.368 million this quarter against $ 139.688 million same period last year.

Iran to purchase wheat, rice

Iran has invited a delegation of Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to visit Tehran for holding negotiations for the sale of Pakistani wheat and rice.

Pakistan's ambassador to Iran has requested Islamabad to immediately send a TCP delegation as the Iranian government had strongly indicated to buy 500,000 tons of wheat from Pakistan. Iran has also indicated to import rice from Pakistan if an attractive deal was struck between both the sides.

Sources said the Iranian government has also asked Pakistan to send a delegation comprising people from the private sector, producing surgical, sports goods industry, synthetic textile, denim cloth etc to give an idea to their importers that what kind of material/ goods they could import from Pakistan.

Iranian dates arrive

The country has started receiving fresh supplies of dates from Iran, as the local stocks are close to an end. Traders at Karachi's dates market, situated in Lyari, said that the local produce in the market would hardly constitute 25 per cent of the available stock as 75 per cent of the stock is imported. They said that despite huge local production this year, some 10,000 tons of dates would be imported for Ramazan.

Pakistan this year produced 650,000 tons dates, of which over 550,000 tons were consumed locally, whereas a good amount was destroyed because of unfavourable infrastructure, while the remaining stocks is committed for export, a senior official at Export Promotion Bureau said.

During the previous fiscal, Pakistan exported 64,221 tons dates and earned $23.9 million. The EPB official said that the country could export more dates, if the infrastructure facilities were improved.

Petroleum group imports increased by 76.78%

The imports of petroleum group increased by 76.78 per cent in dollar terms during July-October 2000 as compared to the corresponding period last year.

It is this sharp rise in petroleum group imports which raised the import bill to $3.21 billion, up 15.11 per cent from the same period of 1999. Consequently, the share of this group in overall import bill jumped to over 35% as against 23% in July-October, 1999, it is shown by an analysis of the foreign trade figures released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics.

The serious implications of rising imports of petroleum group for the difficult balance of payments situation is also evident from the fact that the $567 million increase on its account constitutes as much as 77% of the trade deficit. The trade deficit at the end of the four-month period stood at over $727.3 million.

IDB to raise $2bn for intra-trade

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has decided to generate and mobilize $2 billion funds in a bid to push up intra-trade volume among the Muslim countries that currently amounts to meager 10% of the global commerce.

According to the Bank's officials, the Executive Board of the Bank has approved $ one billion from its own resources for the purpose.

Besides, they said, the Bank has also approved the mechanisms that would enable the IDB to mobilize an additional sum of one billion dollars from the market to react to the financing requests by the member countries in this connection.