. .

May 21 - Jun 03, 2001

60,000 tons LPG export from next month

The government has allowed export of over 60,000 tons of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from next month to avoid local price fall and ensure profitability of the companies.

Secretary Petroleum M. Abdullah Yousaf told on Thursday that newly established Pak-Arab Refinery Limited (Parco) has been allowed to float a tender next month for export of the surplus product.

He said till surplus production, which is expected to continue for a year or so, 5,000 tons LPG per month would be exported. It was estimated that 60,000 to 70,000 tons could be exported during the year, he said. He said that LPG price would probably be $270 per ton at the moment, which meant that Pakistan would be able to earn foreign exchange worth $16 million through LPG export.

The secretary said that the government has also decided to allow oil marketing companies (OMCs) to fix the prices of diesel and petrol from next month when the government announced last quarterly review based prices of petroleum products. The secretary did not agree that price fixation by the OMCs would affect the general consumers saying it was not possible in the today's world where international prices are easily available.

When asked that LPG consumers in far flung areas like Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas were still facing short supply even in the summer season, the secretary said that it was in this background that they had convened a meeting of LPG companies on Thursday and directed them to invest in the infrastructure system to improve supply mechanism.

He said that the OMCs were already importing petroleum products from abroad at their own but the government fixed prices. Now the government would pull out of the whole pricing process and take charge of only ensuring the quality and standard and leave pricing system to the market forces.

The secretary declined to comment on the question whether or the government would reduce over 52 percent taxation on petrol in the coming budget.

0.65mn bales of cotton exported

The private sector has exported 0.650 million bales of cotton, worth about Rs8 billion, under a diversified plan to Far Eastern countries.

According to official figures released by the EPB, up to May 15, 2001, the total shipment comprised 0.480 million bales of the new crop and 0.167 million bales of the old crop.

"Despite steep decline in world prices, our lint is being sold at much higher rate," a leading exporter said. "The main reason behind the premium export price is the quality of lint we offer to foreign buyers," they said.

The New York cotton futures on Thursday were quoted at 42.66 and 45.20 cents per lb for the July and new crop settlement.

Exporters have slowed down their export drive to keep local prices competitive for the textile industry for further value-addition.

Indian rice being branded Pakistani in Gulf

The delegation of Pakistan Rice Exporters' Association, currently visiting the Kingdom, has accused India of exporting inferior quality rice to Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states by branding them Pakistani rice.

They accused some of the Dubai-based traders of mixing rice from India into the Pakistani Basmati rice, in collusion with some Indian rice exporters, before diverting it to other Gulf states. Saudi Arabia is the largest basmati rice market in the Gulf.

Some members of the Pakistani delegation also claimed that labels on Pakistani rice bags were also changed at times to give the buyer an erroneous impression that they originated from India.

Molasses export drops

The export of molasses has dropped in first ten months of this fiscal owing to poor harvest of sugarcane, exporters said on Wednesday. Around 704,870 tons of molasses have been exported against 0.8 million tons during the same period last year, fetching around $29 million at an average price of $40 per ton in the world market. According to a molasses exporter, the country has produced around 1.4 million tons of molasses this season as against yearly average production of 2.2 million tons achieved up to 1998. They further said that around 0.2 million tons of carry-over stocks are still lying with many exporters.

Expo centre in Lahore

The chairman, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Tariq Ikram on Tuesday said that the bureau will construct a big expo centre in Lahore at a cost Rs350 million to Rs400 million.

Export target

The Export Market Development Fund (EMDF) meets here on Tuesday to consider measures for boosting exports by 100 per cent at $20 billion by the year 2005 and review the export performance for the current fiscal, commerce ministry sources told on Monday.

Pakistan is targeting $20bn exports in 2005 and $30bn by 2010 from the current year's of $10bn. The current textile exports of around $6bn are projected to touch $14bn in 2005 and $20bn in 2010. Leather exports, now at $500 million, are estimated to double at $1 billion in 2005 and triple at $1.5 billion by the year 2010. Engineering exports are targeted to touch $1 billion in next four years from the current level of $200 million and further jump to $2.5 billion in 2010.

Guidelines for exporters

Pakistan's Embassy in Tokyo has prepared guidelines for Pakistani exporters willing to export their products to Japan.

According to these guidelines, released by Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) here on Saturday, there are number of contacts in Japan, information facilities on various websites and libraries, list of Japanese importers, etc. Pakistani exporters can benefit from free facilities and useful information.

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) trade directory provides list of importers in Japan and their addresses, contact persons. This directory is now available with EPB on CD-ROM and in book form.