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Dec 18 - 24, 2000

Raw wool losing global business

Pakistani exporters of raw wool are fast losing international markets to their competitors as heavy lifting of raw wool by Afghan carpet makers have forced them to cut production. Besides lack of incentives like export refinance facility leave them unable to compete their rivals price-wise.

"We are losing market shares in the United Kingdom, China, Belgium, Japan and India very rapidly due to our uncompetitive prices," said vice chairman, Pakistan Wool and Hair Exporters Association (PWHEA), Amanullah Farouq.

"If the downward trend of exports continue, our export figures will disappear from the statistics prepared by the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS), he told on Thursday.

He said that prices of wool, currently offered by New Zealand, which were expensive as compared to Pakistan, has fallen in the last few years, making our prices unattractive in the global markets. "We offer $1.5 per kg to two dollar per kg but it fail to click the buyers as they get cheaper wools from New Zealand and other countries like Australia.

He claimed Pakistani wool still enjoys an edge over wools of New Zealand and Australia, due to its resilient characteristics, but it seems that foreign buyers have also now become price conscious instead of quality.

Pakistan's exports of raw wool, which stood at Rs528 million in 1996-97, declined to Rs293 million in 1997-98, Rs134 million in 1998-99 and to Rs61 million in 1999-2000. In July-November 2000-2001, exports fell to Rs27 million as against Rs35 million in the same period of 1999-2000.

He said heavy buying of wool by Afghans in the last two to three years to make high quality carpets is also one of the main reasons of slow wool exports from Pakistan. Farouq said that carpet exports have been showing rising trends since the last few years.

Wheat at $121 a ton offered to Iran

Pakistan has informed Iran of its readiness to sell 200,000 tons of wheat at $121 per ton against Tehran's quoted price of $118.

Islamabad has also informed Teheran that initially it would sell 200,000 tons of wheat against its demand of 500,000 tons.

Official sources said that the much delayed decision to fix wheat price at $121 per ton was finally taken by Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Earlier, sources said, Gen Musharraf was given a comprehensive briefing on the issue of wheat export and price to both Iran and Afghanistan jointly by the ministries of commerce and agriculture.

Iran had earlier rejected Indian offer to buy its wheat at $110 per ton after reports that New Delhi's commodity was diseased. Instead it showed interest in buying Pakistani wheat at $118 per ton. However, Pakistan said, it is not ready to sell at less than $121 per ton.

Kabul emerging market for exports

Afghanistan has emerged as a fast growing export market for Pakistan's merchandise since the Taliban took control of Kabul in September 1996. Export earnings have shot up by 7-8 times in the past four years.

Seafood export up by 10pc

The export of seafood has increased by 10.26 per cent to $71.394 million during July-November 2000 over the same period last year.

According to EPB sources, the export value has increased by $ 6.649 million while quantity declined by 7.72 percent during the same period.

Pakistan exported 37,048 metric tons of seafood during first five months of the current fiscal year against 40,149 metric tons during same period 1999.

Manufactured exports show decline

The ratio of manufactured exports to total merchandise exports registered a decline of 1.21 per cent during the period July-November 2000, as compared to corresponding period of previous year.

This was evident from the foreign trade data available from the Federal Bureau of Statistics, according to which manufactured exports constituted 87.60 per cent of total exports as against 88.81 per cent in the period July-November, 1999.

The exports during the first five months of current financial year totalled $3.71 billion, up 11.64 per cent from last year.

'Exports behind target'

Federal Minister for Commerce and Industries Abdul Razzak Dawood has said that the present government is focusing on the revival and restructuring of the industries like textile, sugar and rice, with a view to easing out pressure from the trading and business community.

The minister was speaking at Iftar dinner, hosted by the RCCI on Monday. He said the business community were frustrated on account of several reasons amongst which were ongoing tax survey and lack of confidence in different policies. He said the sectors of textiles, sugar and rice were adversely affected owing to sluggish industrial activities and hence the government would give focus on the restructuring of the industrial sector.

He said during the first five months of the current fiscal, the country made exports of $3.72bn, indicating that Pakistan is still $250m dollars behind the target set for the period.

Merchandise exports up

Merchandise exports of Pakistan surged by 11.64 per cent during the first five months of 2000-01 as compared to corresponding period of the last financial year, according to the foreign trade statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics on last Saturday.

Nevertheless, the trade gap also increased by 26.99 per cent, because imports rose by 14.39 per cent offsetting the substantial improvement in exports.

Pakistan may sell power to India

Pakistan has confirmed the availability of 300MW of power for export to India, for 10 years, which could be further increased to 600 MW depending on the availability, the Rajya Sabha was informed.

Minister of State for Power, Jayawanti Mehta, told Brahmakumar Bhatt in a written reply that two rounds of discussions had been held on power supply from Pakistan.