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Jan 01 - 14, 2001

0.4m bales of cotton shipped in four months

Around 0.4 million bales of cotton with an estimated value of $70 million have been physically shipped during the last four months, official sources said on Tuesday.

According to details the private exporters in total made a physical shipment of around 0.270 million bales and TCP 0.125 million bales.

With free cotton trade policy higher exports could have been achieved, but soaring prices in domestic market deterred exporters from entering into more commitments.

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) in total, registered around 1.1 million bales contracts from 1999-2000 crop, out of these 0.309 million bales contracts were cancelled and a balance of 0.787 million bales contracts remained intact.

During last four months (Sept to Dec 2000) a total of 0.385 million bales were registered with EPB. Out of these 0.111 million bales were of 1999-2000 crop and 0.274 million bales of 2000-2001 crop.

The official figures further disclose that during Sept 1, 1999 to August 31, 2000, the private sector raw cotton exports through Karachi Port stood at 0.338 million bales and of TCP 0.236 million bales. A nominal amount of 1,525 bales were exported through Multan dry port.

The official estimates for current crop as 10.2 million bales is being considered to be close to a reality particularly, when these figures, as based on last year's harvest which was short by one million bales.

Cotton experts estimates current crop size close to that of last year when officially recorded harvest was put at 9.7 million

Duty free imports show 86.1pc rise

Duty-free import of consumer and industrial goods recorded an increase in value from Rs44.26 billion in July-November 1999 to Rs82.39 billion, during the same period this year, showing an increase of Rs38.12 billion, or 86.10 per cent.

This phenomenal increase was caused by a steep rise in duty- free import of petroleum products, the value of which was Rs7.65 billion in July-November last year, while it was Rs47.85 billion this year, showing an increase of Rs40 billion, or 84 per cent increase.

This also reflected an alarming growth in the subsidized supply of petroleum products to the state sector organizations. Petroleum oil crude imported duty-free this year was of Rs29.082 billion this year, while it valued Rs4.762 billion last year. Non-crude petroleum imports duty-free valued Rs2.854 billion last year but Rs18.859 billion this year.

Exporters allowed to transfer quota

Ministry of Commerce on Thursday announced Textile Quota Management Policy-2001, carrying rewards on one hand to encourage exporters and penalties on the other to bring about transparency and fair play.

Under the new policy, the specific categories, for which exceptional flexibility of 4,000 MT allowed by European Union is to be used, would be determined by Quota Supervisory Council (QSC) and communicated to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Following acceptance of the European Union, the EPB shall allow the textile associations the use of exceptional flexibility on notified terms and conditions.

For good performance, all eligible exporters would get additional quota as a reward.

In addition the government has also accepted a major demand of textile exporters by allowing them to transfer their official quota as well as one purchased from the open market.

Free cotton trade policy to continue

Current policy of free import and export of cotton would continue and no government intervention would be made in this regard.

This was decided at a meeting of the Federal Textile Board chaired by the Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production Abdul Razzaq Dawood.

The Board would continuously monitor progress for investment in spinning for import of machinery under BMR-expansion or new units, the meeting decided adding, APTMA would take the proposal of Commercial Warehousing Scheme with the banks at their own.

If needed, government intervention would be solicited for support from the State Bank, the meeting further decided.

Export figures to improve

Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Chairman Tariq Ikram has hoped that the export figures for December would show an improvement.

Addressing a seminar on Thursday, he said Pakistan's exports grew 12 per cent during the first five months of the year 2000-01 over the corresponding period last year, but lagged behind the target by $250 million. He said the restructuring of the EPB had been completed with a view to increase exports.

PSO-KPC deal on diesel import

Pakistan State Oil (PSO) is discussing the import of three million tons of diesel per year with Kuwait Petroleum Company (KPC) under a term contract agreement.

The two companies are trying to finalize the agreement and it is expected to be signed within two weeks," a senior official in the PSO told on Thursday.

"We intend to sign a term contract agreement for two years and to be effective from January 1, 2001," the official said.

Import of three million tons of diesel will cater to more than 70 per cent of country's requirement, while the rest will be managed by the two foreign oil marketing companies Shell Pakistan Limited and Caltex Pakistan.

The term contract agreement with KPC is considered an initial step towards deregulation of diesel imports followed by price deregulation in the second phase.

Sugar industry seeks higher import duty

Pakistan's sugar industry has urged the government to raise the import duty on the commodity to 40 per cent from 15 per cent to restrict imports, trade officials said on Wednesday.

"We have sent a request to the government which gives a comparative evaluation of how cheap imported sugar is being dumped into Pakistan," Khadim Ali Qazilbash, secretary-general of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, told.