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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Mar 25 - 31, 2002

Molasses export earns $30m

Around 600,000 tons of molasses export during current sugarcane crushing season has fetched around $30 million at an average price of $50 per ton, exporters said.

The country is expected to produce around 1.5 million tons molasses during current sugarcane crushing season, which would earn around $75 million. The bulk of molasses quantity is exported to European countries where it is processed and up-graded to make it usable for industrial purposes, including alcohol and in some edible products.

Due to poor harvest of sugarcane crop the country for the last two consecutive years has produced around 1.5 million tons as against 2 to 2.2 million tons it used to produce.

The sugar mills generally do not have proper storage system of molasses and normally they fill open pits in the ground which are exposed to atmospheric changes as well as dirt. Consequently, most of the leading exporters have already purchased huge quantity of molasses, which is reported to be in the range of 400,000 to 500,000 tons and have stored it in tanks at Keamari.

With crushing season almost over in the province of Sindh the flow of molasses is reported to have declined considerably. However, in Punjab where crop size is 20 to 25 per cent larger than Sindh and crushing season also starts late most of sugar mills are still operating.

Exporters expect that around 0.5 million tons of molasses was still lying with sugar mills in Punjab and Sindh but with weekly export of around 50,000 tons they expect to handle the entire exportable quantity within next three to four months.

According to sugar technologists the absence of downstream industries in sugar sector is one of the main factors of its being inefficient and cost ineffective. In countries like Brazil the sugar industry is involved in production of other industrial as well as edible products which they make out of molasses, but in Pakistan it is being exported at a throw away prices.

Surplus wheat export

A three-pronged strategy has been evolved by the government for the export of surplus wheat in a shortest possible time so that sufficient storage space is created before the arrival of new crop, official sources said.

Besides the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP), the Pakistan Storage and Supplies Corporation (Passco) and Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (Minfal) have been asked to make arrangement for export of wheat out of their stocks.

6.63pc rise in crude oil import

Pakistan imported nearly 4.86 million tons of petroleum crude during the period July-February 2001-02 6.63 per cent more than the same period of previous year.

In spite of the quantitative increase in import of the important energy source, according to an official source, its share in total import bill ($7.19 billion) declined from 12.84 per cent during the July-February 2000-01 to 12.50 per cent in the current financial year.

This was because of a sharp 17.92 per cent drop in the import price of crude. During the previous year, it was imported at the average rate of $202.78 per ton. This year, its price averaged about 36 dollars lower at $166.45 per ton.

Tin plate dumping

The National Tariff Commission (NTC) has issued a notice of investigation into a complaint that South African exporters of tin plate of a certain specification are marketing the product in Pakistan at rates amounting to dumping , according to an official source.

The purpose of the investigation, as provided in Anti-dumping Duties Ordinance 2000, is to determine the normal value of the product in the domestic market of the exporting country. If it is found that there had been an attempt to dump the product, the commission would analyse the data and determine the level of tariff to be levied thereon on the basis thereof.

Indonesia seeks Joint ventures

Jack Saeed Ghafar, Ambassador of Indonesia to Pakistan, has said that there are bright opportunities of setting up joint ventures between the two countries in different trade fields.

He stated this while addressing a joint meeting of local traders, industrialists and exporters, at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), on Tuesday. He also visited various industrial units in Sambrial, Daska and Sialkot city.

Drugs import

The local pharmaceutical industry is, apparently, losing initiative to enhance its market share in Afghanistan due to policy curbs applied by the anti-Pakistan elements in the interim Afghan set-up, according to trade and business circles.

S. Arabia, UAE may lift ban

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may lift ban, imposed two years ago, on meat imports from Pakistan, official sources said on Friday.

The ban caused an annual loss of $45 million to the country, in foreign exchange.

After a recent visit of a Saudi technical team, presently a three-member UAE delegation is on a week-long inspection of slaughterhouses in Pakistan.

ATT import value up

The import value of the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) surged by 104.74 per cent to Rs1,471.54 million during the month of February of the current financial year against Rs718.732 million during the same month of the last year.

On the other hand the total value of ATT fell by 10.37 per cent during the July-February period of the current financial year in comparison to the same period last year.

The import value of ATT fell by 28.03 per cent in January and 22.66 per cent in July-Jan period of the current financial over the corresponding period of the last year.