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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Oct 22 - 28, 2001

Bush gets authority to lift all sanctions

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday evening passed by voice vote a bill that gives authority to the president to waive all sanctions against Pakistan, including democracy sanctions.

The way is now clear for the United States to resume all kinds of economic and military aid to Pakistan till 2003. Although, one-time waivers were earlier permitted with regard to some restrictions, this is the first time in a decade that Pakistan will be entirely free of American sanctions.

The US administration had even before the Sept 11 attacks decided to seek waivers for all anti-Pakistan sanctions, but democracy, or Section 508 sanctions, that under the US law come into effect immediately a civilian, elected government is deposed through a military coup, were proving an obstacle, with Congress reportedly baulking at lifting them. But Pakistan's transformation as the key battle-line state for the US-led military operations in Afghanistan dramatically changed the mood in Congress.

The bill was first rushed through the Senate proposing waiver of all tiers of sanctions, which has now also been approved by the House.

With regard to Section 508 sanctions, while blanket waiver authority has been given to the president for the current fiscal year, for the year after, the president will have to certify that a waiver will facilitate the restoration of democratic governance in Pakistan and is important to the US efforts to respond to, deter or prevent acts of terrorism.

The legislation, which runs through till October 2003, includes waivers of sanctions under the Missile Technology Control Regime and the Arms Control Act, prohibitions relating to loan defaults and the ban on transfer of excess defence equipment.

Following approval of the legislation, the US will be able to release an economic aid package for Pakistan which is believed to be in the vicinity of $600 million, including $100 million announced by President Bush in September.

Japan reluctant to write off debt

President Gen Pervez Musharraf called on Japan to boost its financial support, including a debt waiver, as Pakistan struggles to cope with a flood of refugees following US bombing attacks in Afghanistan, officials said on Wednesday.

President Musharraf made the request during a 30-minute telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the officials said.

"Referring to five billion dollar loans from our country to Pakistan, President Musharraf requested Prime Minister Koizumi to write off the loans," a Japanese foreign ministry official said.

Mr Koizumi vowed to continue backing Pakistan but showed no intention of waiving its loans to the debt-ridden country.

"I would like to support Pakistan from a financial point of view," Mr Koizumi was quoted by the official as telling the president. "But our basic stance is that a debt waiver is not desirable," Mr Koizumi said.

Britain to give 15m for Afghan refugees

Britain has decided to further offer 15 million pounds for Afghan refugees, says the visiting British secretary of state for international development Clare Short on Wednesday.

She is here at the invitation of finance minister Shaukat Aziz to extend financial support for Afghan refugees and for poverty- reduction in Pakistan.

According to a statement made by the British High Commission she said that Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. "It has some of the world's highest child and maternal mortality rates, disability is common as a consequence of the large number of land mines that litter the country, health and education services have virtually disappeared, and women and girls have suffered grievously from the restrictions imposed on them by the Taliban."

Tri-Pack Films

Tri-Pack Films Limited is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan and the Packages Limited. The principal business of the company is production and sale of Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene Film (BOPP).

Tri-Pack Films controls more than 50 per cent of the market share of BOPP, which as a versatile packaging material is used mainly in biscuit, confectionery, snacks, soap, detergent, processed food, garments, hosiery, tobacco and the Ice cream industries.

ICC moot rescheduled

In view of the current situation, the "ICC Regional Foreign Direct Investment Conference" which was to be held on November 11-12, 2001 has now been rescheduled for February 16-18, 2002, says a press release.

Powell-Musharraf talks

Pakistan and United States on Tuesday agreed on the formation of a broad-based government in Kabul having representation from the Northern Alliance as well as 'moderate elements' of the Taliban.

"We both agree that all elements, including the Northern Alliance and southern tribal leaders," should have representation in the future political set-up, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said after talks with Pakistan team headed by President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

The three-hour discussions included a session of one-on-one meeting between President Musharraf and Mr Powell. "When you say broad-based it means all will have to have an opportunity," Mr Powell said, laying emphasis on 'all'.

Nagina Cotton

Nagina Cotton Mills Limited proposes to invest Rs14 million in 2 million right shares of Rs10 each, at discounted price of Rs7 in the associated company Pacific Leasing Company Limited.

EU promises

European Union governments Wednesday promised a swift signature of a new cooperation treaty with Pakistan, with diplomats also recognising that any future broad-based post-Taliban government in Afghanistan would have to live in peace with its neighbours.