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TRADE

Nov 12 - 18, 2001

EU to increase textile imports from Pakistan

The European Union is sticking to plans to increase textile and clothing imports from Pakistan as of January 1, 2002 despite objections raised by Portugal and Spain, EU trade chief Pascal Lamy said on Monday.

"We will ensure that necessary decisions are taken so that trade opportunities for Pakistan start next year," Lamy said following talks with EU foreign ministers.

"We do not expect a delay in our legislative procedure which requires approval of the EU textile plan by all 15 EU governments and the European Parliament," Lamy said.

The EU trade chief insisted that the textile deal with Pakistan was based on "reciprocal access," with Pakistan committed to lowering its tariffs on EU imports in exchange for increased market opportunities in the Union.

Asked if the agreement with Pakistan could become a model for other textile-exporting countries including India, Lamy said: "No agreement is a precedent."

Portugal has voiced worries that the expected rise in Pakistani exports of textile and clothing could hurt its domestic textile sector.

European textile exporters are also up in arms against Lamy's "Trade for Peace" package and have accused the trade commissioner of turning his back on the European textile sector.

"This is a flagrant example of European textile and clothing interests being sacrificed to serve a wider purpose," said a statement issued by Euratex which lobbies for the European textile industry.

Rice exports

Export of new crop rice having an estimated value between $350 to $400 million in the world market is in doldrums as exporters are reluctant to enter into foreign contracts owing to highly volatile dollar/rupee parity, rice exporters said.

After first October's free fall of dollar against the rupee when the dollar on a single day shed 140 paisa or more than 2 per cent of its value in open market and threw off 50 paisa or about 0.8 per cent of its value in the inter-bank market the parity between both the currencies, thereafter, remained highly volatile.

CBR to set up export facilitation centres

The Central Board of Revenue has decided to establish three export facilitation centres (EFC) one each at Lahore, Gujranwala and Sambrial collectorates to facilitate the exporters.

The exporters will now get all facilities/assistance under one roof in a very congenial environment, which will start functioning by the end of December, an official source said on Wednesday.

The EFC aimed at facilitating the exporters by speeding up the processing of export bills through one window operation.

Power breakdown

A two to four hours daily interruption in electric supply due to loadshedding is rendering industry incapable of meeting even those export orders that have been cut down drastically after September 11 attacks on the US.

According to chairman, Council of Karachi's Industrial Associations (CKIA), Dawood Usman Jhakoora, North Karachi industrial area comprising over 2,000 units, had been hit hard by the KESC's unannounced loadshedding. Almost all the industries in North Karachi area virtually come to halt for at least eight hours daily due to feeder breakdown and tripping, causing heavy losses to the industries and exports.

Iraq sends requirements for wheat

Iraqi Grain Board has sent a detailed specifications to Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) about import of wheat from Pakistan.

This was stated by the chairman, Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), Syed Masood Alam Rizvi, while talking to APP on Saturday.

He said that these specifications will be provided to Pakistan Agriculture Supplies and Storage Corporation (PASSCO) to ensure compliance. "They are the suppliers of wheat and they must have these specifications," he said.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka trade

A 14-member trade delegation from Pakistan led by Tariq Ikram, Minister of State and Chairman, Export Promotion Bureau, visited Sri Lanka from October 29 to 30 , to explore avenues of enhanced bilateral trade between the two countries.

The delegation comprised businessmen, manufacturers and exporters of rice, fresh fruits, spices, confectionery, tractors and agricultural machinery implements, pharmaceutical products, motorcycles, bulbs, fluorescent tubelights, jewellery & general ladies items and information technology (IT) from leading business houses in Pakistan.