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July 02 - 08, 2001

Trade policy on July 9

Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production Abdul Razak Dawood on Saturday said the new trade policy will be announced on July 9. Talking to newsmen at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said the new policy would be aimed at making the country a 'tradition nation'.

"Pakistanis need to become a trading nation like the Chinese." For this purpose, he claimed that the government would even free the import of wheat. The minister was totally non-committal about the reported preparations for granting the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to India. "No comments" was his answer when asked about the possibility of such a decision during the forthcoming visit of President Pervez Musharraf to India. However, talking about the sugar industry crisis during the meeting he presided at the LCCI, he said: "We won't open up to India. Pakistan has to watch the interest of its industry." About the federal budget, Mr Dawood claimed that for the first time suggestions from the industry and businesses had been given weightage.

According to him, the basic problem with Pakistan's industry was inefficiency and the lack of quality-consciousness. Unless Pakistan industrialists learns to give due importance to quality, the country may be in for deeper crisis, he said. Substantiating his point of view, Mr Razak told his audience that Pakistan exported 27 per cent more rice during the last year but got less price by two per cent because of poor quality.

Industrialists can no longer afford this type of slackness, specially with the coming WTO regime.

The minister also told the participants that the Ministry of Commerce has formed an "anomaly committee" to remove any anomalies in the budget and for this purpose all the industrial sector can send their complaints either through their respective chambers or directly to the ministry, and their grievances will be removed by July 30.

Importers stop opening LCs

Importers of spices have stopped opening fresh letters of credit (LCs) soon after five per cent increase in import duty to 20 per cent in the budget on June 18.

"Importers have also stopped lifting the commodity from the port as they cannot afford to bear additional burden," Patron-in- Chief, Pakistan Kiryana Merchants Association (PKMA), Haji Shafiqur Rahman told on Wednesday. He said that a sizeable quantity of spices are lying at the port for want of clearance, as importers are waiting for withdrawal of the decision.

For instance, he said 2,000 bags of black pepper (60 kg in each bag), had been awaiting for clearance from the port.

He said genuine importers have to pay a cumulative duty of 59 per cent as against 15 per cent being paid by the smugglers.

Spices imports during July-May 2000-2001 fell by 21 per cent to $21 million (19,228 tons) as compared to $17 million (12,104 tons) in the same period of 1999-2000.

Fertilizer industry 5pc duty on raw material import

The government has announced 5 per cent import duty on the raw materials for fertilizer industry from the next financial year.

According to the Pakistan Custom Tariff, those raw materials imported for producing fertilizers are to be taxed at 5 per cent import duty including animal or vegetable fertilizers, whether or not mixed together or chemically treated; fertilizers produced by the mixing or chemical treatment of animal or vegetable products.

Mineral or chemical fertilizers, nitrogenous including urea, whether or not in aqueous solution, ammonium sulphate and ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulphate other, ammonium nitrate, whether or not in aqueous solution, ammonium sulphate and ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulphate other, ammonium nitrate, whether or not in aqueous solution, mixture of ammonium nitrate with calcium carbonate or other inorganic non-fertilizing substances, sodium nitrate, double salts and mixtures of calcium nitrate and ammonium nitrate, calcium cyanamide, mixtures of urea and ammonium nitrate in aqueous or ammonical solution, other including mixtures not specified in the foregoing subheadings.

Pakistan trade team visits Khorassan

A 22-member trade delegation, led by Amanullah Khan, former president of RCCI and chairman exhibition committee, visited Khorassan from June 14-22.

According to a message received on Tuesday from Tehran, said the delegation visited Iran on the joint invitation of the Khorassan Commerce Department and Mashad Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines.

The delegation represented diverse fields of manufacturing and services sector of Pakistan. It comprised manufacturers of light engineering goods, and food products.

The delegation participated in the 3rd International Trade Fair, Mashad (June 16-22).

It was for the first time that Pakistani manufacturers and traders organized eleven stalls in their respective fields in the fair and were appreciated by the visitors as well as the government officials of Iran.

Chinese team visits KPT

The visiting Chinese delegation took keen interest in functioning of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and viewed the arrangements for handling heavy cargo at the port.

The leader of Chinese delegation Ye Qing, who is also a minister, asked various questions regarding capacity of the port, cargo handling, its harbour channel, dredging facilities etc.

Iran lifts ban on wheat import

Iran has lifted ban on the import of wheat from Pakistan, commerce ministry sources told.

These sources said that Tehran had officially conveyed its decision to Islamabad. The ban, imposed last year as a result of some standard and variety related dispute, has been lifted at a time when Pakistan is expecting around 2 million tons of surplus wheat despite water shortage, these sources said.