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Apr 30 - May 06, 2001

20% import tariffs for European Union under study

Pakistan is considering to offer 20 per cent import tariff for goods from European Union, and in return will get 5 per cent tariff for Pakistan's export to EU countries.

"We are seeking a market access in European Union for which we will have to strike a bargain", said the Minister for Commerce and Industries, Razak Dawood.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, the commerce minister who has just returned from Brussels said that Pakistan's exports needed to be greatly increased in EU in order to earn more foreign exchange.

He said although maximum import tariff will be 30 per cent from the next financial year, special tariff will have to be given to EU to get in return some better market access. "This is a budget issue which is still to be finalized but tentatively we plan to give 20 per cent import tariff to EU", he said.

He said he had met the Trade Commissioner of the European Union Pascal Lamy and was offered 17.5 per cent import tariff for Pakistan as was offered to Sri Lanka. He said Sri Lanka and Ukraine had accepted 17.5 per cent import tariff for EU goods and that the same was now being sought from Pakistan.

"We have not decided any thing but I told the Trade Commissioner that we need a better deal and we could consider 20 per cent tariff", Razak Dawood said.

The commerce minister pointed out that Bangladesh, Egypt were the privileged countries as there was no quota for them and that they could send their products in EU countries without paying any duty.

He said although quota regime will have to go by the year 2005, its benefits were being showered to some selected countries by the EU.

Responding to a question, he said that it will take about 3 to 4 months to get various issues settled with the EU specially over the quota and new tariff.

$100mn oil import financing arranged

Citibank and two other banks have arranged a $100 million Islamic oil import financing facility for Pakistan State Oil (PSO).

The signing ceremony was held on Monday, which was also witnessed by Minister for Finance Shaukat Aziz. According to details, Citibank Pakistan along with Citi Islamic Investment Bank (as arranger), Saudi American Bank and United Bank Limited (as co-arranger) help finalize an oil import financing for the PSO.

This is the second facility, Citibank has arranged for PSO in the Islamic market in the last six months. The signing of $45 million oil import financing facility for PSO in December 2000, marked Pakistan's entry into the international commercial debt market.

Export allowed to Central Asia without ST

The government has allowed export of cement, rice, pharmaceuticals, glass sheets, G.I pipes and hardware items with duty drawback and zero sales tax to Central Asian Republics (CARs) through the land route of Afghanistan.

According to a ministry of finance notification No SRO 233 (I)/2001 dated April 19, 2001, the following conditions would govern the exports.

The SRO said: "The federal government is pleased to direct that para 8 of the following shall be substituted, namely, exports to Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics, (I) Subject to sub-paras (2), (3) and (5), export of all commodities produced or manufactured in Pakistan, excluding those manufactured in manufacturing bonds, shall be allowed via land route to Afghanistan against Pak-rupee on filling of regular shipping bills without form "F" to any duty drawback and zero rating of sales tax.

EU must slash textile tariffs, says Dawood

The European Union must slash textile tariffs and quotas, as part of a new drive to boost textiles trade with Pakistan, Commerce Minister Abdul Razzak Dawood said Wednesday.

Following talks with EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, Dawood said Pakistan wanted duty-free access to EU textiles markets on the lines of a zero-tariff entry given to Bangladesh, Egypt and Turkey.

In return, Islamabad would be ready to meet EU demands for a reduction in domestic textile and garment tariffs, he said.

"The EU's market access regime is holding us back," Dawood said. "We are currently at a competitive disadvantage as regards our competitors." "The EU is asking us to chop duties. We have no problem with that," Dawood said he had told EU officials.

Facilities at Pasni, Gwadar harbours

The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has notified new facilities at Pasni and Gwadar harbour for export shipment. The items exportable through these two ports have been specified in notification No. 2(2) L&P/89 issued on Tuesday.

It says that on the Pasni harbour, for the general merchandise like dates, onion, livestock etc and passengers baggage except fish cargo and dried salted fish, the main jetty is available with cargo shed on the East by jetty road, south by fish harbour wall and west by workshop.

On the Gwadar harbour, for general merchandise like dates, onions, livestock etc and passengers baggage except fish cargo and dried salted fish, the main jetty is available including cargo shed bonded on the east by sea, north by submerged "groyne" south by headland wall and main gate.

Textile quota auction

The 2nd auction of growth textile quota 2001 for various products will be held on May 10 at the offices of Export Promotion Bureau at Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and Sialkot.

According to EPB sources Wednesday, the quota allocated through auction will be non-transferable.

Sino-Pakistan trade relations

Foreign Minister, Abdul Sattar, has said that Pakistan will step up efforts to develop a high-tech business consisting of software and engineering enterprises to promote trade with China, said a message received from Beijing.

Gasoline export

The very first shipment of 15,000 metric tons 90 RON unleaded motor gasoline, produced by the PARCO, was loaded from Pakistan State Oil Keamari Terminal storage tanks aboard the tanker MT Atai Star is off for a Middle Eastern Port.