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TRADE

April 15 - 21, 2002

PAKISTAN LOSING RICE MARKET TO INDIA

Indian rice exporters have thrust their way into the world market by elbowing out Pakistani exporters, who are presently confronted with numerous problems that come in their way in making viable export contracts, exporters said.

"The edge enjoyed by Indian rice exporters in price along with full backup support from their government did not only forced the Pakistani exporters to leave world markets but also resulted in a steep fall in exports," a leading exporter said.

According to reports appearing in Indian media, the Pakistani exporters are losing market share in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia to rival India, where rice prices are significantly lower and the government has also lifted all restrictions on export of all food grains, including rice and wheat.

Consequently, Pakistan after exporting 1.439 million tons of rice last year (July-March) has to witness a drastic fall of 29.8 per cent in over all rice exports this year (July-March) on exporting 1.011 million tons only. The fob price earned during last nine months (July-March) through export of rice stood at $266.682 million as against $333.786 million fetched in the corresponding period last year. This shows a fall of 20.1 per cent or $67.11 million less in foreign exchange earning.

The rice exporters had been demanding of the government to remove hurdles in the way of exports particularly double pre-shipment inspection (PSI), one carried by Quality Review Committee (QRC) and another by PSI of buyers which the exporters say is a 'double vexation.'

Despite the fact that all these demands of rice exporters had been well taken at the highest level in the Ministry of Commerce but no practical move had been initiated so far to remove these hurdles which have ultimately damaged the country's rice export market, managing committee member of REAP, Mohammad Hussain Khandwalla said.

IMPORT WITHOUT APPROVAL ALLOWED

The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) has decided to allow duty free import of compressed natural gas (CNG) machinery, equipment, conversion kits and cylinders without prior approval of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources.

The government had exempted all these items from the levy of customs duty and sales tax in case imported by CNG companies or the local automotive manufacturers and assemblers.

A relevant customs official told that the decision to this effect was taken following the recommendation of the Petroleum Ministry to abolish the condition of seeking prior approval of the ministry for getting the duty exemption on these items.

KENYA TO IMPORT FERTILIZER

Kenya Tea Board (KTB) has agreed to import fertilizer and packaging/packing material to bring balance in the trade of both the countries. This was stated by Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production Abdul Razak Dawood in a meeting with the visiting delegation of Kenya Tea Board.

Dawood said that Pakistan was the biggest buyer of Kenyan tea due to which the "balance of trade" was in favour of Kenya which needed improvement through increasing imports by Kenya.

The minister said that both sides would work on the proposal aimed at improving the trade balance.

TCP ACCEPTS BIDS

The Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) has accepted bids for export of 129,900 tons of wheat at the rate of $104.40 per ton, it was announced on Thursday.

The tender was floated in the last week of March for export of 100,000 tons wheat of Punjab Food Department. Bids were opened on April 5, at TCP headquarters, in the presence of bidders.

DAWOOD WARNS BUSINESSMEN

Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries, Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood has warned the NWFP businessmen that the government would ban the trade through land route from the Frontier province with Afghanistan if the misuse of the facility is not stopped.

GOVT NOT TO ALLOW IMPORT OF USED CARS

Minister for commerce, industry and production Abdul Razak Dawood on Saturday said the government is not going to allow import of reconditioned cars as this will ruin the local industry which has just started to pick-up.

Addressing a press conference at PIDC headoffice, the minister said that the government's objective is to increase existing capacity of car manufacturers so that consumers do not face shortage or have to wait for longer delivery period.

The minister said that three meetings, including one held on Saturday with car manufacturers have produced good results.

He said that car manufacturers have agreed to ensure delivery within a period of three months and in case of any delay the consumer will be paid interest for a period beyond three months.

CONTRACT AWARDED TO COMPLETE MOTORWAY

The government has awarded contract for completing the remaining work on Peshawar-Islamabad motorway project worth Rs13 billion, without following the process of tender, marking a shift from the transparency claims of the present government.

According to NHA officials, an MoU was signed with a consortium of local contractors, led by the SKB, to complete the remaining work of Islamabad-Peshawar motorway.

The contract, sources say, would have saved more money if the process of tender was followed. Under the MoU signed, the contractor will be required to complete Peshawar-Islamabad motorway within three years, or four years, depending on the cash flow from the government.