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Feb 05 - 11, 2001

Transporters strike hits molasses export

Molasses exporters fear their heavy export orders this season may not be fulfilled, because of the transporters strike that does not seem to come to an end, even after three weeks. The exporters estimate a loss of at least $50 million foreign exchange to the country.

Transporters are demanding a straight 75 per cent increase in haulage charges that, according to the molasses exporters, will render their business non-viable.

A spokesman for the Terminal Association of Pakistan said on Thursday that sugar mills, mostly in upcountry and in North (Punjab and NWFP) are reporting a built-up in molasses inventory as it could not reach the port, as the transport is off the road.

Normally, the first two months of a year January and February are considered to be peak season for export of molasses. Around 0.5 million tons find their way into the world market. But this season owing to a bad sugarcane crop, only 0.2 million tons could be exported so far, he maintained.

As molasses could not reach the port area, seven ships, which were expected to load around 0.2 million tons of molasses, had been diverted to a neighbouring country, the spokesman added.

Pakistan annually produces around 2.2 million tons of molasses, all of which is exported as a very negligible quantity is consumed locally. However, for the last two years poor sugarcane crop has reduced the exportable surplus of molasses to 1.6 million tons.

According to estimates, the country could earn around $50-65 million at an average current world market rate of $30 to $40 per ton, if the entire quantity of 1.6 million tons of exportable surplus is shipped within next six months.

The terminal operators have alleged that lack of government support in resolving their problem with the striking oil tanker owners, who had been demanding increase in freight by 75 per cent, has caused the diversion of seven vessels to other ports.

Efforts on to raise export to Africa

Commerce Minister Abdul Razzak Dawood has said that efforts are in full swing to increase Pakistani exports to African countries to $1 billion annually, with the help of two-pronged strategy.

He was speaking at a seminar on "Pak-African Economic Co-operation", on Saturday, organized by Institute of Business Management (IBM).

The minister said a study group was created in Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) to work on this project. He pointed out that currently, Pakistani exports to African region increased from $360 million to $415 million.

"In addition to export promotion efforts to Africa, we will also pursue Pakistani investors to invest in African countries and set up industrial units in the required fields," he added. He said Pakistan wanted to play a role similar to Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.

EPZA to develop 100 acres

The Board of Directors of Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) has given its approval for development of additional 100 acres of land lying with Karachi Export Processing Zone (KEPZ).

The EPZA Board in its 64th meeting held on Monday, under the chairmanship of its chairman Maqsood Ismail was also informed about investment proposals approved for Karachi Export Processing Zone during last six months.

The Board was informed about approval given to five trading proposals in addition to industrial projects.

The new investment proposals include m/s Hala International Industry for galvanising of corrugated steel sheets entirely meant for export, m/s Mekson Laboratories for processing and manufacturing of cosmetics, m/s Pearl Lubricants for processing, blending and packing of greases, oil and lubricants and Asian Spices for processing and cleaning of spices.

TCP chief to settle issues with Iraq

Chairman, Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), Masood Alam Rizvi is scheduled to visit Iraq next week to settle the issues related to quality, price and shipment of 35,000 tons of wheat to Iraq.

Rizvi said the corporation had submitted the tender for the export of 35,000 tons of wheat to Iraq, quoting the price.

He said he would hold talks with the officials of Iraq Grain Board to sort out all the issues so that the shipment could be made within 60 days after the opening of letters of credit (LCs) by Iraq.

EPB to hold kinno show

The Pakistan Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) is holding exhibitions of kinno (oranges) in five Asian and European countries to raise their exports from Pakistan.

This was stated by EPB director general Tariq Iqbal Puri while speaking at a seminar on the Export Potential of Perishable Items by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday.

The five countries where the kinno exhibitions are scheduled to be held include Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and Netherlands.

NWFP exports increase to $450m

NWFP's exports rose from $64.7 million in 1998-99 to $450 million in 1999-00 showing an improvement by 750 per cent, provincial minister for industries Owais Ghani said on Wednesday.

"NWFP recorded the growth in exports by removing red tape-ism and bureaucratic hurdles in less than one year," claimed the minister, while speaking at the opening ceremony of the 'leather craft show', which began on Wednesday.

'Inferior quality yarn risks export worth millions'

Export contracts of textile made-ups worth millions of dollars are in jeopardy as spinners are supplying inferior and cotton-waste-mixed yarn to textile ancillary industry.

"We have to face foreign buyers with whom our contracts are usually finalized well in advance, ensuring quality as well as price and of course with shipment schedule," a leading readymade garment exporter said.

However, spinners this season have resorted to a very ugly game by supplying inferior quality yarn, mostly mixed with cotton waste, claimed another exporter of value-added textile goods.