Feb 19 -
Trade deficit scales to $1.14 billion
The foreign trade deficit mounted to $1.14 billion
during the period July-January, exceeding the stipulated target by
42.5 per cent.
The government had envisaged $800 million in trade
deficit for the whole year.
According to data released by the Federal Bureau of
Statistics on Saturday, the deficit went up further by 12.58 per cent
as compared to the corresponding period of previous year.
Consequently, it would consume as much as 21.85 per
cent of total exports achieved in the first seven months of the year.
The country exported merchandise worth $5.22
billion during the period under report, up 9.57 per cent from the
corresponding period of previous financial year. This substantial
increase was, however, cancelled out by 10.09 per cent increase in
imports which totalled $6.36 billion.
The portion of imports covered by exports also
registered a slight decline — from 82.47 per cent in July-January
(1999-2000) to 82.07 per cent in the corresponding period of this
The increase in exports notwithstanding, the target
of $10 billion envisaged in the Trade Policy continued to be as
elusive as ever. In order to remain abreast of the target, the exports
should have been at least $5.83 billion. An analysis shows that the
exports performance was short of that target by $612 million.
To achieve the target by next June, the country
would have to export at the rate of nearly $956 million per month.
This seems rather difficult because in the preceding seven months, the
monthly average of exports has been about $746 million — that is,
$210 million less than the desired average.
A review of statistics presents a picture hardly
more optimistic. During the month of January, 2001, the trade deficit
amounted to $218.69 million as against $4.48 million in December,
Prospects for Pakistani fruits
Japan has showed interest in the import of
Pakistani fruits, vegetables and flowers provided their requirement in
respect of quality, grading and packing besides fumigation and
quarantine are fulfilled.
This was stated by Provincial Agriculture Minister,
Hasan Ali Chaniho, on his return after an 8-day visit to Japan during
which he explored the possibilities for export of fruits, vegetables
and flowers from Pakistan.
Mr Chaniho said that at present Pakistan's exports
in fruits, vegetables and flowers stand at only 120 million dollars
which can go up ten times in one year only if an Export Processing
Zone for these commodities is setup in Karachi.
Hasan Ali said that 120 million dollar export
target can be achieved from just one export terminal if setup at
Karachi airport. This target can further go up with the establishment
of such terminals in all the four Provinces, he observed.
Bids for 225,000 tons of wheat export received
The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), received
three bids for export of 225,000 tons of wheat against its tender
offer of 500,000 tons, official sources disclosed on Wednesday.
Sources said the highest offer for Pakistani wheat
of "hard red winter" quality has been made at $105.25 per
tone which is lower by $10 against the prevalent world market rates.
This offer has been made for a quantity of 100,000
tons but TCP officials were not ready to divulge other details of the
bid offer. At present wheat prices in the world market are being
quoted at around $115 per ton.
Another bid made for equal quantity of 100,000 tons
was offered at $90.50 per ton and according to bid documents it stood
the lowest among all the valid offers received by the TCP against its
international tender for export of wheat.
The TCP's tender documents which had fixed 10,000
tons as a minimum quantity, however, on Wednesday received an offer of
a minimum quantity of 25,000 tons.
Notification on temporary import of vehicles
The Central Board of Revenue has announced that in
future duty-free import of vehicles on temporary basis would not be
allowed for more than three months extended period of stay in
Any stay exceeding three months will attract duties
and taxes normally leviable on vehicles involved. Rules for temporary
import of duty-free vehicles into Pakistan have been changed through a
notification No C.8(2)L&P/87, dated February 15, 2001.
Extra fee on tea import
Pakistan Tea Association (PTA) has asked Commerce
Minister Abdul Razzak Dawood to withdraw the SRO regarding one per
cent legislation fee charged by the Pakistan High Commission, Nairobi
on the tea exported from Kenya to Pakistan.
A sum of over Rs400,000 is being transferred every
month from the tea trade to the commission, said chairman Pakistan Tea
1mn ton sugar to be imported
Pakistan is importing one million ton sugar worth
$284 million to meet the gap between local production and consumption
This was disclosed by the agriculture ministry to
the economic co-ordination committee (ECC) of the cabinet, which had
sought a report on sugar.
According to the ministry, the SBP has said that so
far it has opened LCs for the import of 1,072,551 tons of sugar worth
Used computers to be imported
The government would import 30,000-40,000 used
computers by this summer from the United States for educational
institutions, federal Science and Technology Minister Dr
Atta-ur-Rehman said on Saturday.
The computers would be distributed through
Talking to newsmen at the seminar on "software
professional skill set requirements, skill certification and other
issues related to software and manpower", the minister said these
computers, mostly 486Mhz and Pentium I, would arrive in batches of
10,000 each and would cost $50 (Rs3,000) per computer. The government,
which manages the funds for imports, would place the import order next