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July 09 - 15, 2001

$339m textile machinery imported

Textile machinery worth $339.11 million had been imported during July-May 2000-01, as against $177.65 million during the same period last year, official sources said on Monday.

However, on an average the industry needs around $1.5 billion annual investment for BMR and expansion for next three years to meet challenges arising in the post-quota period from 2005.

Last two year's good cotton harvest assisted the industry to make sizeable profits which had been invested in the expansion and upgradation of its ageing machinery.

Industry sources said that even at this slow pace of investment Pakistan is better placed to meet the challenges in post-quota free market because Indian textile industry, for last three years, was unable to get fresh investment owing to larger investment attracted by IT industry.

An investment to a tune of $600 million had made its way into textile industry during last two years, which, officials believe, is quite encouraging under present sluggish economic activity. But there is a growing concern that much of this investment is being made by large industrial groups who constituted only 20 per cent of the entire textile industry.

Although the government has chalked out an extensive plan under 'Textile Vision 2005' envisaging a total investment to a tune of $6 billion for next four years, but the document has not elaborated or identified the source from where such a huge investment would come.

According to Aptma sources, a very large number of new spindles have been imported by leading groups to replace their ageing and lower count spindles. Further, blow rooms, printing, and processing units have also been installed by these groups.

The chairman Aptma, Abid Farooq said with rapidly increasing capacity of working spindles and rotors, the country would be needing around 10 million bales next season (2001-02).

Molasses fetches $33m in 7 months

A little over 0.8 million tons molasses was exported during the last seven months, fetching around $33 million with average price of $42 per ton, according to figures compiled by Terminal Association of Pakistan (TAP).

Poor harvest of sugarcane for second consecutive season resulted in lesser output of molasses at around 1.3 million tons as against 2.2 million tons of last year.

Pakistan is a net exporter of molasses as the produce has no utility in the country, and most of the exports go to European countries.

At present around 0.2 million tons of molasses is lying at port for onward exports and another 0.2 to 0.3 million tons with mills.

A good quality molasses having higher sugar contents is used for producing wide range of edible goods and industrial materials.

The lower quality molasses is mostly used in preparation of animal feeds as well as chicken feeds.

Exporters resent hike in finance rate

Resenting the 2.5 per cent hike in export finance to 13 per cent the exporters claimed that it will render exports uncompetitive in the world market and result in large scale closures of industry.

"Higher incident of financial cost coupled with frequent rise in POL and utility charges have made our value-added products uncompetitive against cheaper goods from Bangladesh and India," said Aslam Ahmed Karsaz, chairman, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association, Sindh-Balochistan zone.

Govt to allow duty-free import of ships

The government has decided to allow duty-free import of ships and floating crafts in order to encourage ship business in the country.

The policy to this effect has been finalized and would be announced soon, said Minister for Communication Lt-Gen (Retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi, in an interview on Tuesday.

It has also been decided that there will be no excise duty or any other tax on the import of ships, so that the number of 'Pakistan-flag carrier vessels' could be increased.

Presently, the volume of annual trade is about 40 million tons. Of which Pakistan National Shipping has the capacity of handling only five per cent of it. By providing new concessions to local investors, it is hoped that the capacity would be increased by 70 per cent.

The duty-free import, the minister said, would be a major step towards strengthening shipping industry for saving foreign exchange and promoting business activities.

Exports cross $9bn mark: Dawood

Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production Abdul Razak Dawood has said that the exports during the current fiscal year have crossed $9 billion mark, which is a record achievement.

Electricity meter exports increasing

The annual export of the electricity meters to South America, Africa and some parts of Asia from Pakistan has gone up to 30,000-40,000 units a year.

"The electricity meters export is going up because of the quality of our products," a manufacturer and exporter, Munir Ahmed Khan, told on Saturday. He said the price of the meters exported to different countries depended upon the market and ranged between $12-18 per piece or more.

Overdue export bills

The State Bank has asked all banks to submit to it by July 25 the date relating to overdue export bills as of June 30.

Trade policy

Liberal import of reconditioned cars, light commercial vehicles (LCVs), air conditioners, refrigerators and other industrial items is expected to be the key component of the trade policy 2001-2002 to be announced next week.

An innocuous invitation from the government received by as many as 18 representatives of various sectors auto parts, domestic appliances, ship breaking, tractors, cars, LCVs, tin plate, steel melters and re-rolling millers for a meeting in Islamabad on Thursday (July 5), has triggered off a chain of speculations and rumours in the market on the government considering to open the import of reconditioned vehicles, domestic appliances and industrial equipments.