. .

Dec 25 - 31, 2000

Steep rise in crude oil import

Import of crude oil increased by 118.10 per cent, thus doubling its share in the total import bill to 13 per cent during the first five months of 2000-01, according to Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) data for the month of November, 2000.

In the corresponding period of last financial year, crude oil had accounted for only 6.97 per cent of the import bill. The country had spent in the current financial year $616.73 million on the import of 2,823,405 tons by the end of November, as against $282.77 million in the same period of last year.

The steep rise in the share of crude oil is attributed to 60.30 per cent increase in its import, volume-wise, as well as 35.73 per cent increase in the per ton rate.

During the period under report, the total import bill amounted to $4.74 billion 14.39 per cent more than in July-November, 1999.

An analysis of the FBS data shows that the petroleum group continues to race ahead of all other major groups of items. In dollar terms, the imports in this group surged 62.74 per cent over the corresponding period of last year. Its import bill constituted more than one-third (33.98 per cent) of the total import bill, as compared to 23.88 per cent in July-November, 1999.

Conforming to the trend of the past several months, November 2000 saw a rise of 8.35 per cent over October, 2000, and of 36.70 per cent over the corresponding month of 1999 in the quantity of crude oil imported by Pakistan. In terms of dollars, the import of crude oil went up by 71.03 per cent over November 1999.

In November 2000, the rate of crude ($227.20 per ton) denoted only a slight rise over October 2000 but an increase of about $46 per ton when compared with November 1999.

Vision to globalize textile trade completed

Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production Abdul Razak Dawood has said that the government has completed vision of globalization of trade in textile and removal of textile quota from January 1, 2005.

Presiding over a meeting regarding new textile quota management policy for the coming years with the stakeholders, representatives of textile associations, members of Quota Supervisory Council, he said the quota management policy was one of the instruments to achieve the objectives of greater value addition and entering into new markets.

The minister said that the government was also determined to check malpractice in trade through a comprehensive policy and invited free and frank views of participants for finalization of the policy.

Tariff to be curtailed further

Tariff on import of raw material will be further slashed to 30% in next fiscal year, Advisor to finance ministry, Ashfaq Hassan Khan said on Wednesday.

He said in order to make the country's industrial products competitive at international markets, availability of raw material at reasonable prices was imperative.

Realizing this fact, he maintained the government already reduced tariff slab from 65% to 35%.

Carpet exports improve

The carpet industry has managed to regain the export volume of 1992 — the year the late Iqbal Masih began his campaign against child labour. It has done so without eliminating child labour completely from the industry.

The Iqbal Masih case brought about a decrease in Pakistani carpet exports. In 1992, the exports of the hand-knotted carpet industry stood at 229.6 million dollars. Owing to a frenzied media campaign against Pakistan on child labour, the exports fell to a little over 171 million dollars in 1993 before finally slumping to 151.3 million dollars in 1994. However, during 1999- 2000 Pakistan exported hand-knotted carpets worth 250 million dollars.

In 1986, Iqbal Masih's father had sold him to a carpet-maker for Rs13,000. For six years, Iqbal worked in the carpet factory of a local employer, who extracted 16 hours of hard work from him daily. During this labour, Iqbal's body stopped growing and he was threatened with dwarfism.

Govt asked to freeze wheat export

The federal government is freezing ongoing process of wheat export on the recommendation of an inter-provincial Wheat Review Committee (WRC), which in its meeting held on Saturday concluded that crop production could be 25 per cent short this year.

Earlier, agriculture ministers of Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and NWFP, during WRC meeting jointly asked the center to immediately stop further export of wheat, saying it could create problems for provinces in meeting their annual food requirements next year.

PSM sales

The sales of Pakistan Steel during Jan-Nov period this year were higher by 1.75 lakh tons in comparison to sales during the corresponding period in 1999, Lt-Col (retd) Afzal Khan, PS Chairman, said.

Wheat to Iran

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) claimed on Monday that no price has been determined for selling 200,000 tons of wheat to Iran as the terms and conditions are yet to be decided between the two sides.

Quota utilization

The US customs may impose embargo on import of textile goods after detecting that Pakistani exporters are already in excess utilization of several categories of quota ceiling for the current year.

The figures released by the US customs show that arrival of many textile goods at import stage are already higher than those being shown by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB)'s provisional figures of textile quota utilization for the period January 1, to November 30, 2000.

Import under ATTA

Out of Rs1.52 billion imports cleared under Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement, Rs199.1 million of the total consignments were of tea, say ATTA figures for July-November period of the financial year reveal.