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Feb 26 -Mar 04, 2001

EU mulls quota lifting for Pakistani textiles

A European Union (EU) team is arriving next week to discuss possibilities of lifting quotas on Pakistani textile exports to its member states, official sources said on Tuesday.

Sources said the EU had already given its consent for lifting of quotas, provided Pakistan reciprocate on equal terms and reduce its customs tariff as required under the WTO agreement.

At present the maximum customs duty stands at 35 per cent and under the WTO agreement, Pakistan was supposed to have further reduced these duties.

However, there is a delay in further reduction of duties, which is primarily because of shortfall in revenue and a protection required by the industry, before facing open market competition.

The EU lifted quota restriction on Sri Lanka last December, after the latter met the tariff reduction condition.

Minister for Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood has also hinted at the FPCCI's Trophy Award Ceremony at Lahore that a EU team was due next week to discuss lifting of quota restrictions on Pakistani textile exports.

Sources said the EU team was carrying along a "wish list" to discuss it with the government of Pakistan and it was expected that some positive results would come out of this development.

After the US, the second largest trading partner of Pakistan are the EU member states with whom there is an annual export volume of around $1 billion. Most of the exports consist of textile and textile made-ups like readymade garments, bedlinen, hosiery, yarn etc.

Pakistan is already behind the schedule of tariff reduction and if the government manages to face the problem, it was most probably that a further reduction may be effected in next budget.

Deals worth $35.5m struck with Iraq

Pakistani delegation has struck various deals worth more than $35.5 million with Iraqi authorities during three-day visit to Baghdad.

This was stated by state Minister and Chairman Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Tariq Ikrim on Wednesday.

He said the visit was very fruitful and Pakistan is likely to get more orders worth millions of dollars for the supply of various consumers and construction work, medicines, surgical items, laboratory equipment, stationary items, agricultural implements, spare parts, tractors.

Tariq Ikram said there had been a total change in the attitude of Iraqi government following Pakistan's support of Iraqi stand and strong condemnation of US-UK air strikes over Baghdad.

He said Pakistan struck deal for the supply of 100,000 metric tons of wheat worth $12 million, 40,000 tons rice worth $10 million, wooden doors for $11 million and G I Pipes worth $2.5 million during the current visit to Iraq.

OMCs allowed to import diesel

Ministry of Petroleum has cancelled a diesel purchase tender to make way for private sector imports of the product, the second to be freed from government control after fuel oil, last year.

"Yes, we have cancelled the tender and allowed OMCs (oil marketing companies) to import diesel," a petroleum ministry official said.

The tender had sought 480,000 tonnes of gas oil in eight 60,000 cargoes for delivery in the second quarter. It had been due to close on February 24.

The official said the tender had been issued as a "backup" to ensure that diesel supplies to Pakistan were not disrupted.

"But OMCs like Shell and Caltex informed us that they were ready to import, so we decided to cancel the tender," he said.

A Shell Pakistan official told Reuters negotiations had already begun with international firms for the supply of the product in the second quarter.

Direct container delivery

The Karachi Customs Agents Group (KCAG) and Karachi Port Trust (KPT) have decided that direct delivery of containers from port area would not require any permission, henceforth.

An agreement in the regard was reached in a recent meeting held between KCAG and KPT authorities for resolving certain issues confronting members of the group.

Export rebate allowed on PVC resin

Export manufacturers of PVC resin as raw material have been authorized customs rebate on Wednesday. A Central Board of Revenue notification No. C.3(90)DDS/99, dated February 20, 2001 , allows the export rebate on consignments made from August 13, 1999 onward, to Engro Asahi Trading Ltd, Karachi.

The rate of rebate on export of PVC resin grade AU-67R, packed in printed paper bags would be 5.01 per cent of the FOB value. It would be 4.42 per cent of the FOB value on export of grade AU-67R packed in PP woven bags.

On export of PVC resin grade AU-67S packed in printed paper it would be 5.03 per cent of the FOB value, while on export of grade AU-67S packed in PP woven bags the rebate would be at 4.44 per cent of the FOB value.

Pakistan-Iran trade

Removal of trade obstacles is imperative to promote mutual trade and business between Iran and Pakistan.

Need to remove customs related barriers was overwhelmingly felt to promote trade between the two countries at a meeting between the visiting delegates of Iran's Khurasan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and members of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday.