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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Feb-25 - Mar- 10, 2002

POF exports hit by armed forces needs

Indian massive deployment at Pakistan's borders has seriously hampered Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) Wah exports as the complex has devoted all its production capabilities in meeting the requirements of the country's armed forces.

It was stated by POF Wah Chairman Lt-Gen Abdul Qayyum at a briefing held to mark the 50th anniversary of the factories, which was attended by 60 diplomats and defence attaches of over 50 countries, including the United States, China, Russia, and of Europe, Scandinavia, Middle East, Africa and Asia, including Central Asian Republics.

The POF has the potential of earning from $50 million to 100 million dollars a year through the export of international quality arms and ammunitions.

The POF, he pointed out, had been negotiating with over 40 countries around the globe for the exports of its light combat firearms, assault rifles and ammunition, which ranged from machine gun cartridges to mortars and bombs used in tanks and heavy artillery.

Lt-Gen Qayyum said POF exports at present were fluctuating between 15 million dollars to 30 million dollars a year. The POF, he added had been earning foreign exchange besides meeting hundred per cent requirement of over 600,000-strong Pakistan armed forces.

If the threats to Pakistan's security were addressed and neutralised and the country could lower its guards, the POF could concentrate on exports and earn substantial foreign exchange which could be utilized on the welfare of the people, he added.

The basic task of the POF, he said, was to meet the requirements of the Pakistan Army, which it had been doing successfully and to the entire satisfaction of the military high command. He pointed out that recently they had received an order for the supply of ammunition from Sri Lanka which required at least two years time to meet but the highly skilled and devoted manpower at the factories met the demand within few weeks.

Philippines, BD to import 0.3m tons rice

Philippines has decided to import 250,000 tons of rice from Pakistan while Bangladesh will be importing 50,000 tons of rice very soon.

"We will shortly be calling tenders for the export of 250,000 tons and 50,000 tons of rice to Philippines and Bangladesh respectively," said Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production Abdul Razak Dawood. Earlier, he said, exports to Philippines were banned for being inferior in quality.

He told that Iraq, which had earlier imported 62,000 tons of rice from Pakistan, had again asked for more imports, for which a government team would visit Baghdad shortly.

Razak said that informal trade with India was going on through Singapore and Dubai, but there was a need to formalise trade between the two countries. However, he said that there should be an overall package for political and economic matters so that normal trade relations could be restored between India and Pakistan.

Libya keen to buy wheat, rice

The minister of state and chairman Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) Tariq Ikram said on Wednesday that Libya is keen to purchase 50,000 tons rice and 0.2 million tons of wheat.

Briefing newsmen on his recent visit to Libya and Kenya, he said there are good prospects of export to Libya, and, in a short period of one to two years, goods worth $80 to $100 million could be exported to Libya.

He said export of 50,000 tons rice could fetch around $12 million and wheat between $25 to $30 million, but there are also good prospects for export of textile and pharmaceuticals which could earn upto $7 million and $5 million respectively.

Demand picks up slightly

Textile companies are reporting 'slight improvement' in booking of export orders from Europe and a 'slight pick up' in import demand from the US in last five weeks.

An analyst in the office of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) indicates a 4 per cent increase in export demand from European Union in the last one month. This export demand has slightly pushed up yarn consumption in the domestic market.

Export finance rate falls

Exporters will get export finance from banks at 7.5 per cent in March instead of 8.5 per cent as the State Bank has made another one per cent cut in its export refinance rate.

In a press release issued on Tuesday the SBP said it had cut the export refinance to 6 per cent for March 2002. It said that banks may charge a maximum spread of 1.5 per cent on this rate while lending money to the exporters under the export finance scheme. In other words export finance would be available at 7.5 per cent in March 2002.

Rice export trade in jeopardy

Acute shortage of rice varieties like basmati (385), Irri-9 and 386 (non-basmati), which are normally in great demand in the world market, has put export trade of rice in jeopardy, rice exporters said.

A sudden fall in cultivation and production of these varieties is reported to be the main factor for the setback which has put exporters in a fix and is also going to badly damage country's export market, another exporter said.

Auto sales jump in January

The new year started with a good note for the auto sector as sales of cars, bikes, light commercial vehicles (LCVs), buses and trucks surged by 8.6 to 153 per cent in January 2002 as compared to December 2001. However, tractor (Al-Ghazi and Millat) is the only exception whose sales marginally declined by 1.8 per cent. People bought 54 per cent more cars in January 2002, touching sales to 3,893 units from 2,523 units in December 2001.