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Sep 17 - 23, 2001

EU ready to remove quota restrictions

The European Union (EU) has offered to completely remove quota restrictions on Pakistani products as a quid pro quo to have free access to market in this country.

Abdul Razak Dawood, minister for commerce and industries told newsmen that Pakistan had, however, asked for special preferred tariff regime for its products like Bangladesh, Egypt and Turkey, besides a two-year moratorium on anti- dumping duties. EU has promised to consider this issue, he said.

Bilateral talks with the United States did not yield desired results, although both sides agreed to consider each other's positions, the minister explained on his return from United States and Europe in connection with pre-WTO (World Trade Organization) meeting in Doha from November 9 to 13. The US has also did not entertain Pakistan's request to remove quota restriction on Pakistani products.

He said the issue of removal of quota restrictions has been under discussion between EU and Islamabad since April this year, and the two sides have understood each other's stand after a number of rounds in Brussels and Islamabad.

The minister said that discussions on special tariff like being enjoyed by Bangladesh, Egypt and Turkey were still going on and Pakistan's economic team in Brussels would follow it up and in coming days.

To a question about talks with the United States, the minister said that he discussed the dispute of combed yarn with Robert Zoellick, the trade representative and adviser to President Bush.

He said that Pakistan took them (US) to the court and won the case and then they went into appeal and Pakistan again won. Once again they have gone into appeal, but "we have asked them not to pursue because it is just wastage of time."

The minister said that they had agreed to examine Pakistan points and take a decision very soon. He said that the United States wanted to merge 338 and 339 textile categories and "we said we would consider it."

Pakistan exports to Korea up by 25pc

Despite lower than expected growth in the economies of both Korea and Pakistan the two-way trade between the two countries touched all time high at $700 million in the year 2001.

This was stated by Korean ambassador Yoon-Jee Joon while talking at a dinner given in his honour by the president of Pak-Korea Friendship Society, Iqbal Mangrani on Monday.

Regardless of economic slowdown, witnessed by both the countries, he said, exports from Pakistan to Korea registered an encouraging rise of 25 per cent and exports to Pakistan from Korea recorded an increase of 9.6 per cent. Referring to lesser growth in Korean exports to Pakistan Yoon-Jee Joon said it was because of Korea's own economic problems and not of any factor concerning Pakistan's imports.

Presently, he said, Korea is having a joint venture in automobile industry, which is being successfully run and has created its market in Pakistan.

Wheat export to Iraq

Trading Corporation of Pakistan is using all channels to export 350,000 tons of wheat to Iraq during the current phase of UN oil-for-food program.

TCP chairman Syed Masood Alam Rizvi told APP on Thursday the country could not participate in the bidding for wheat in the on-going phase-10, as Pakistani wheat was on Iraqi port for laboratory analysis.

"Now Iraq has accepted the quality of Pakistani wheat in accordance with the required specifications about protein content, gluten, moisture, etc. and Pakistan can supply the required quantity to Iraq", he said.

4,250 tons soya bean oil sold

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan in its auction on Thursday sold 4,250 tons of imported soya bean oil.

The corporation sold the edible oil at the price ranged between Rs36,505 and Rs36,506 at the auction held at the TCP head office, says a press release.

US softens stand on textile quota curbs

The United States has agreed to consider Pakistan's concerns relating to a softening of quota restrictions on Pakistani textile exports, although no immediate progress has been made on the issue. This is the impression gathered following Federal Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood's talks in Washington with US trade representative Robert Zoellick in the first cabinet-level contact on trade issues between the Bush administration and the Musharraf regime.

Tax-free cement export to Kabul, CARs

The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has allowed zero-rated export of cement and tobacco leaf to Central Asian Republics (CARs) and Afghanistan via land route.

The decision has come into effect from September 6, 2001 through an amendment in SRO No 547, said a notification No 625 (I) 2001. Formerly the government had levied Central Excise Duty on the export of these items to CARs and Afghanistan.

The tax authorities attached high importance to the tax exemption, and were of the opinion that it would help boost exports of the country to CARs and Afghanistan.

Tea import

The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) is considering to reduce duty on import of black tea from 20 to 10 per cent to check the smuggling of the commodity, an official source said on Wednesday.

According to figures made available, ratio of smuggling of tea had enormously discouraged from 35,000 to 15,000 tons annually following cutting down of its import duty from 45 to 20 per cent in 1998.