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 1. INTERNATIONAL   2. INDUSTRY
 3. FINANCE  4. POLICY
 5. TRADE  6. GULF

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TRADE

Jan-07- 13, 2002

Trade with South Asian states up

Pakistan total trade with Saarc countries registered an increase of 18.12 per cent to $573.47 million in 2000-01 against $469.52 million in 1999-2000.

On quarterly basis, Islamabad's total trade with Saarc countries stood at $157.986 million during July-October of 2001-02 Pakistan exported $71.807 million goods to Saarc countries during, and imported $ 86.179 million goods. However, when compared with 1998-99 the total trade decreased by 5 per cent to $573.47 million during 2000-01 from $603.686 million.

Pakistan's major regional trading partner in 2000-01 was India, followed by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, while the other trading partners remained at a very low level.

According to official figures made available, Pakistan exported goods worth $ 268.43 million in the year 2000-01 against $ 274.165 million it exported in the year 1999-2000, registering a marginal decrease of 2.09 per cent. And in comparison to the country's exports, which stood at $ 391.64 million in 1998-99 to these countries, it declined by 31.46 per cent.

On the other hand, Pakistan imported goods worth $305.04 million in 2000-01 as against import bill of $195.355 million in 1999-2000, showing an increase of 65.14 per cent. While in comparison to the import bill worth $ 212.046 million 1998-99, it increased by 43.85 per cent.

Officials sources told that the total trade of Pakistan with Saarc countries has remained between $300-500 million during the past ten years. Pakistan exports have registered a marginal increase from $258.9 million in 1992-93 to $268.43 million in 2000-01.

But Islamabad's imports have almost remained stagnant during this period except for in 1996-97, when it registered an increase from $149 million in 1992-93 to $285.9 million in 1996-97. However, it was the year 2000-01, when the country's imports slashed up to $ 305.04 million.

EC notifies GSP

The European Commission (EC) has officially notified the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) under which Pakistan is going to benefit duty free exports to European Union (EU) member states for a period of three years starting Jan 1, 2002.

The Council Regulation (EC) No 2501/2001 appearing in the official journal of the European Communities is effective for the period from Jan 1, 2002 to Dec 31, 2004.

Pakistan is going to be one of the beneficiaries for enjoying duty free exports of large number of goods, including textile made ups, towels, bedlinen, furniture engineering goods, etc. Yarn is an exception which has not been included in the list of items.

Although the European Commission in November 2001, signed an agreement with government of Pakistan allowing duty free access to European market for a large number of items but it has been officially notified on December 31, 2001, to give legal status to the agreement.

Rice export declines by 7.56pc

The rice export has declined by 7.56 per cent to 651,262 tons during first six months of the current fiscal year. According to rice exporters on Wednesday, the value of exported rice had also declined by 5.48 per cent to $174.926 million during July-December 2001.

Last year Pakistan exported about 704,537 tons worth $185.074 million during the same period.

The export data shows that the combined export of Irri-6 and 9 rice was estimated at 419,465 tons during July-December 2001, with a value of $69.049 million.

The export of basmati stood at 203,613 tons worth $96.988 million during six months, of which super basmati was valued at $56 million.

The export of blended rice was 28,184 tons worth $8.878 million during the period under review.

CBR turns down exporters request

The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has turned down a request from exporters seeking extension in exemption of duty on imported goods for re-export.

The government had allowed the registered exporters to import duty free goods for consumption in the manufacturing of goods for their subsequent exportation up to December 31, 2001.

After expiry of the date, the CBR seemed reluctant to extend the exemption.

Changes in engg goods import policy

The government has announced major changes in the policy of importing of engineering goods to protect the local industry. The import of Engineering Goods Control Order of 1998 has been repealed and a new one has been issued, specifying that the import would be made under international tenders.

The change in the import policy was made by a Ministry of Commerce order notified under SRO 827(I)/2001 on Saturday.

Under the new policy, only in case of procurement of these goods by the government but not in case of other public sector agencies, bidders tendering for such goods produced in Pakistan shall be accorded a price preference in rupees up to a specific (in proportion to the value addition) of the lowest landed cost of an item of foreign origin with similar specifications as mentioned in the tenders.

Razak to visit Dhaka on 24th

Pakistan's Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood is expected to arrive in Dhaka on Jan 24, leading a 15-member team consisted of officials and business leaders, the commerce ministry sources said.

Bilateral trade and other issues of mutual interest would come up for discussion between the two team led by Mr Razak and his Bangladeshi counterpart Amir Khashru Mahmud Chowdhury at the meeting beginning from January 26.

Existing trade volume between the two countries is not considered adequate. In fact, Bangladesh's exports to Pakistan have been gradually dwindling and during last year as it stood at only $32 million. Pakistan's exports to Bangladesh during the same period were around $90 million.