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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Mar 18 - 24, 2002

Slump in exports feared

Export of textile products is down by more than 10 per cent in February indicating the setting in of a marked declining trend, which, the exporters fear, will gather momentum in the coming days.

Exporters doubt if total exports for 2001-2002 by the end of June next would touch the figure of 8.75 billion dollars.

A price war in Europe and the US, the two principle markets of Pakistani textile products, harassment of exporters by the various official agencies and the worsening law and order situation in the country are being blamed for the export slump. Business leaders complain of receiving threat calls from various groups which are distracting them from their normal business activities.

With the breaching of Rs60 a dollar parity on Monday when greenback value came down to Rs 59.95, the exporters foresee a fresh wave of rupee appreciation setting in. "This is bound to affect the exports in coming days," a leading exporter explained.

Export of nine textile products during February amounted to $396.30 million. These products fetched $442.73 million in January and $460.80 million in February last year.

In February six out of these nine main textile products showed negative export growth. Cotton cloth export is down by more than 23 per cent, knitwear by over 31 per cent, tents and tarpaulin by about 59 per cent, towels by about 5 per cent, bed wear by over 9 per cent and synthetic textiles by 6.24 per cent. Export of other variety of textile products is also down by more than 30 per cent.

Exporters contend that the advantage of tariff concessions obtained from the EU have largely been offset by the erosion of dollar value in last few months. "It has started a price war among the exporters of Pakistan and also between Pakistani exporters and those of other countries particularly China, India and a few other countries," explained an exporter.

Dutiable imports fall by 0.27pc in 8 months

The value of dutiable imports fell by 0.27 per cent to Rs251.713 billion during the July-Feb period of the current financial year against Rs252.398 billion over the corresponding period last year.

The value of total imports surged by 4.97 per cent to Rs417.993 billion during the eight months of the current financial year against Rs398.167 billion during the same period last year. On the other hand the total imports bill during the seven months, however, increased by 7.2 per cent to Rs375.364 billion against Rs350.113 billion during the same period last year.

On monthly basis, the value of dutiable imports in February fell by 6.36 per cent to Rs30.967 billion against Rs33.071 billion in the same month last year.

Exports of major items fall by 3pc

Pakistan's exports of rice, raw cotton, tobacco, fertilizer manufactured, plastic materials, transport equipment and gems fell drastically during July-February period of the current financial year against the same period of the last year.

And exports during eight months of the current financial year stood at $5.809 billion this year against $5.988 billion during the same period last year, a decrease of 2.99 per cent.

Provisional figures released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics on Saturday for eight months of the current fiscal year, showed the exports of rice fell by 16.74pc, raw cotton by 33.38pc, tobacco by 22.93pc, fertilizer manufactured 59.39pc, plastic materials by 56.85pc, transport equipment by 59.24pc, gems by 61.15pc, machinery specialized for particular industries by 31.02pc and jewellry by 19.5pc.

20pc duty on export of leather sought

Leather garment manufacturers have asked the government to immediately impose 20 per cent duty on export of semi finished and finished leather to ensure its availability to the manufacturers of value-added leather goods.

The exports of leather garments and other products during February 2002, declined by 45 per cent owing to higher cost of finished and semi finished leather, which is being exported at the cost of local value-addition leather industry.

Egypt keen on importing wheat

Egypt has shown keen interest in purchase of 300,000 tons of wheat from Pakistan to meet its domestic shortfall, official sources said. This major breakthrough became possible after a small quantity of 25,000 tons of wheat, recently imported by a private Egyptian party, was well received, the sources said.

Despite a ban on wheat import from Pakistan for being infected with 'Karnal Bunt' disease caused by smut-ball fungus of genus 'Tilletia' the party imported this quantity.

Pakistan, UK trade ties grow

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Hilary Nicholas Synnott has termed trade relations between the two countries as pretty much satisfactory.

He said the trade relations between the UK and Pakistan were growing at a rate of 15 per cent annually. He said 25 per cent of total foreign investment had come from the UK, reflecting the interest of British investors in this country.

EU keen on increasing trade

European Union is deeply keen on increasing trade cooperation with Pakistan and other South Asian countries, says deputy head of EU delegation to Pakistan Pedro Martinz Vargas.

He was speaking at the inauguration of a seminar on the EU's GSP Scheme and Regional Cumulation on Saturday. He said Pakistan sends 33 per cent of its entire exports to the EU countries and purchases 20 per cent of its total imports from there.