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Jan 15 - 21, 2001

Iran refuses to purchase wheat

The ongoing negotiations between Islamabad and Tehran for the sale of Pakistani wheat worth $30 million to Iran have finally collapsed as Iranian Trading Corporation has refused to buy the commodity.

Tehran and Islamabad were trying to strike a deal for the import of 200,000 tons of wheat, for the last six months.

Official sources told on Wednesday that the Chairman Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), Masood Aalam Rizvi, has disclosed to the government that " The Tehran government, through a telex message, has informed that it had put Islamabad in its quarantine regulations list and they are not in a position to import wheat from Pakistan'.

He has further disclosed that the Iranian government had also refused to buy Pakistani rice on grounds of the high price demanded for the commodity by the TCP authorities.

Sources said Mr Rizvi, in a SOS to the commerce ministry, has requested to immediately contact Pakistan's ambassador in Tehran to make last time efforts at the diplomatic level to get this contract by convincing Iranian authorities to buy the wheat from Pakistan which has 1 million tons of surplus wheat this year.

Earlier, the sources maintained that Mr Rizvi had informed the concerned federal government authorities that Government Trading Corporation (GTC) of Iran, vide their telex message No 16/34887 dated January, 1, 2001 had informed the corporation that Pakistani wheat had been placed on the quarantine list.

The TCP chairman told the federal government officials that responding to this "abrupt development", "we took up the matter with the GTC Iran by sending them a letter the very next day and confirmed to them that Pakistani wheat is free from any disease and pests as apprehended by GTC, Iran".

Seafood exports up by 8.76%

Pakistan's seafood exports have witnessed an increase of 8.76 per cent to $82.197 million during the first six months of 2000.

According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) on Thursday, the country exported 42,418 metric tons of seafood including fish and shrimps during July-December 2000. In the month of December, seafood exports valued at $11.311 million.

Last year, Pakistan exported a higher quantity of seafood estimated at 47,520 tons but fetched lesser value at $75.577 million.

A leading seafood processor and exporter said that this year exporters have fetch increased value for their products after the European Union upgraded Pakistan's status to List I, raising unit value.

He said that Pakistan was now fetching an average price of $2 per kilo for its seafood in European market.

He said the major importers of Pakistani seafood are European Union, USA, Japan, Gulf countries and China.

He observed that this year seafood exports will surpass last year's total of $139 million.

Export of textile manufactures falls

A substantial decrease in the contribution of textile manufactures and a slight increase in that of the primary commodities marked the exports performance of the country during the first half of 2000-01.

According to Federal Bureau of Statistics, textile manufactures accounted for 62.94 per cent of total exports, down 3.31% from July-December, 1999, while the primary commodities improved their share in exports slightly to 12.56%. In the corresponding period of last year, these had contributed 11.98% to the overall exports.

Total exports during the period under report amounted to $4.47 billion, 8.34% more than in the first half of 1999-2000.

According to available data, the manufactured exports totalled $3.91 billion, denoting an increase of about 7.63% over the corresponding period of previous year. Their share in total exports stood at 87.44%, that is, 0.57% less than in July- December, 1999.

But the contribution of textile manufactures to the manufactured exports also dropped from 75.27% in the corresponding period of previous year to 71.52% this year.

Plan to export 400,000 tons of rice

Planners are looking for export of 400,000 tons of Irri-6 from the new crop in the wake of reports of the mounting rice demand world over as raging floods are reported to have damaged the crops in traditional 'rice bowl' countries including Vietnam.

While rice crops have been severely damaged in Vietnam and other countries, farmers in Pakistan harvested for the second consecutive year bumper crop of around 2.2 to 2.4m tons Irri-6 and Irri-9. The country is expected to have an exportable surplus of around l.3 to 1.5 million tons after meeting domestic consumption of about 0.8 million tons to one million tons.

Foreign trade deficit up to $938m

The deficit in foreign trade of Pakistan soared to $938.09 million during the first half of 2000-01, up 22.32 per cent from the corresponding period previous year.

According to figures, released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) on Wednesday, a significant aspect of the trade figures is 6.01 per cent decline in exports during December 2000, as compared to December 1999. Likewise, the imports also showed a decrease of 8.01 per cent.

Rice exports

Pakistan exported 704,537 metric tons of best quality rice during the first half of the current fiscal year, which is 105,281 metric tons more than in the corresponding period last year.

The chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), Shahzad Ali Malik, said on Wednesday that rice exports registered an increase of nearly 18 per cent during the period under review, which helped earn $185 million more foreign exchange for the country.

Kinoo export

Exporters and Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) are eying a rise of 20-25 per cent in kinoo exports in the current fiscal year following good crop prospects and competitive prices of local products in the global markets.