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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Nov 19 - 25, 2001

Vast potential exists to enhance engg goods export

Vast potential exists to increase the exports of engineering goods from Pakistan to $250 to $300 million in next three to four years.

This was stated by the Chairman, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Tariq Ikram while speaking at the conclusion of two-day national conference on "Engineering Industry" organized by Resource Development Fund and Institute of Banking Finance and Industry on Wednesday.

He said the EPB was focusing on enhancing the exports of engineering goods under its ten-product promotion strategy which also includes fisheries, computer software, fruits and vegetable, etc.

Ikram said the auto parts exports had risen from $10 million to $25 million in three years, and now the EPB was endeavouring to increase it to $ 100 million in near future.

He pointed out that EPB was closely working with the engineering industry to improve the quality and export of autoparts. He said enormous potential existed for the exports of Pakistani electric fans which were better in quality than those of many countries in the region, and that the UK was willing to buy these fans.

He said various engineering goods including electric motors and pumps and electric fans had been exported to Iraq, and exporters were now moving to other countries like Australia and Canada.

Ikram suggested exporters to be more quality-conscious of exportable engineering goods and make proper costing of products before their exports.

He invited exporters to avail the facility of "product upgradation fund" for improving the quality of their products. He said the government will share 50 per cent of the cost of product upgradation while the exporters will bear the rest.

He also called for a greater collaboration between the exporters, EPB and engineering universities for developing indigenous machinery and techniques to improve quality of exports.

Oil imports decline

Oil imports have declined by 23.50 per cent during first four months (July-October 2001) to $1.004 billion against $1.312 million during the same period last year.

Figures compiled by Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) suggest that in terms of value, import of petroleum products declined by 36 per cent to $521 million during four months of current year against $818 million last year. Similarly, the import of crude oil declined by 2.45 per cent during the first four months of current year and stood at $482 million against $494 million during the same period last year.

Interestingly, the quantity of the import of petroleum products increased by around 21 per cent, and stood at 33 million tons against 45 million tons last year despite the fact that domestic refineries were running at 70 per cent capacity.

Import of textile machinery on rise

Investors are active in textile, construction and mining sectors as amply indicated by the official trade figures of last four months.

These figures show that the import of textile, construction and mining machinery and equipment has risen considerably. Also showing marked rise in import are steel scrap a vital input of construction industry.

Textile machinery and equipment import has increased by more than 47 per cent in dollar terms and about 70 per cent in rupee value during last four months indicating that restructuring, revamping and modernization of the industry is going on a fast track.

Official figures reveal that total import of textile machinery and equipment during July to October this year was worth over $159 million or more than Rs10 billion. In same period last year textile machinery import stood at $108.14 million or Rs5.97 billion.

Portugal and Spain oppose EU package

Portugal and Spain on Saturday again objected to recent European Commission plans to increase textile and clothing imports from Pakistan.

Both countries told reporters they were worried that the proposals by European Union trade chief Pascal Lamy would create a precedent for other Asian nations including India and hurt their domestic textile interests.

WTO agrees to tariff-slashing negotiations

The World Trade Organisation agreed late Wednesday to new global tariff-slashing talks after India finally lifted an eleventh-hour opposition to the negotiations expected to start next year.

Pakistan said yes to the pact which experts say is needed to boost flagging world economic growth. But Pakistani officials said it was important that future negotiations reflected the "development agenda."

Belgium wants more trade with Pakistan

Trade officer of Belgium in Islamabad Abid Hussain on Tuesday said that there were bright opportunities of setting up joint ventures between Belgium and Pakistan in different track fields.

This was stated by him, while addressing a joint meeting of local traders, industrialists and exporters at the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) after visiting the various industrial units in Daska, Sambrial and Sialkot city.

The trade officer offered some direct trade relations to the Sialkot business community for enhancing mutual trade and exports. He said adequate efforts would be made for the establishment of joint ventures between the two countries.

Import under ATT up by 42.85pc

The import value of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) has increased by 42.85 per cent in September of the current financial, and stood at Rs1.2 billion against Rs0.84 billion over the corresponding month of the last year.

Official figures released by the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) on Monday, showed that during the first quarter of current financial year the import value of ATT rose to Rs3 billion from Rs2.82 billion over the corresponding months of last year, registering an increase of 6.38 per cent.