President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Begum
Khaleda Zia led their respective delegations during the official talks
that lasted for 90 minutes.
President Musharraf briefed the Bangladesh leader
about Pakistan's initiatives to defuse tension in the wake of massive
deployment of troops by India along the borders and the LoC.
He said tension in the region could not be removed
without a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in line with the UN
resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
Briefing newsmen after the talks, Bangladesh Foreign
Minister Morshed Khan said the meeting focused on trade and economic
relations and greater market access of Bangladeshi goods to the
He said Pakistan agreed to provide tariff and
duty-free import of raw jute from Bangladesh. Pakistan also agreed to
provide similar concession to import of tea from Bangladesh up to 10,000
tons per year provided the WTO provisions permit it.
Bangladesh expressed its desire to expand the list of
items to be allowed duty-free entry into Pakistan.
It was also decided that the existing
Pakistan-Bangladesh Joint Economic Council would meet at least once a
year to discuss further trade expansion between the two countries. Both
the countries also agreed that the next JEC meeting would be held in
It was pointed out at the meeting that the Saarc
grouping had failed to become an effective regional body because of
contentious bilateral issues.
PAKISTANI WHEAT MAKES INROADS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
Pakistan, which has made inroads in the Southeast
Asian wheat market by striking sales to Vietnam, has found another
customer in Malaysia and is hopeful of a few sales to Indonesia, traders
said on Thursday.
As regional grain traders await the outcome of
Pakistan's latest export tender for 100,000 tons, they expressed the
hope for more sales from the South Asian origin to Southeast Asia,
although it faces a big hurdle — aggressive Indian sales.
"Pakistani wheat has gone into Malaysia and I
have not heard them complaining about anything," said a
Singapore-based regional grains trader, dealing in South Asian-origin
Earlier this year, Pakistan made its first wheat
sales in the Southeast Asian region in many years with deals to Vietnam,
adding to the already stiff competition between India and China.
SLUMP IN WORLD STOCKS HIT EXPORTS
The on-going slump at stock markets in Europe and the
US has affected Pakistani exports, particularly exports of bedwear. This
was stated by the chairman, Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association
Shabbir Ahmed on Wednesday.
Talking to APP, Shabbir Ahmed said that despite a
good export performance during fiscal year 2001-02, bedwear exports are
facing problems due to stock market crisis in the US and Europe.
"Bedwear exports are slow due to heavy stock
losses to our buyers in the west," said Shabbir Ahmed.
Bedwear exports registered a 23.31 per cent increase
in terms of dollars and 29.16 per cent in terms of rupee as compared to
figures of last year. The quantity rose to 22.42 per cent during the
last fiscal year.
According to official figures, Pakistan exported
181,627 tons of bedwear worth $918.5 million in 2001-02 against 148,366
tons worth $744.883 million in 2000-01.
FREE TRADE DEAL WITH SRI LANKA SIGNED
Sri Lanka signed a free trade agreement with Pakistan
on Thursday, strengthening economic ties with the country that is one of
island's major military suppliers.
The agreement was signed after a meeting between
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and visiting Pakistani President
Officials said the deal would help the island's
feeble economy, struggling to right itself after decades of civil war.
DUMPING DUTY ON TIN-PLATE
The levy of anti-dumping duty by the National Tariff
Commission (NTC) on the tin-plates imported from South Africa may result
in increase of price of ghee packed in relevant tin-plate by only 0.5
per cent but its benefits for the industry as a whole are immense.
DUTIABLE IMPORTS UP
The value of dutiable imports increased by 4.93 per
cent to Rs404.618 billion during the financial year 2001-02 against
Rs385.587 billion over the corresponding period of last year.
And the value of total imports surged by 5.04 per
cent to Rs647.176 billion during the financial year 2001-02 against
Rs616.08 billion during the same period of 2000-01.
On the other hand, the value of duty-free imports
stood at Rs242.558 billion in 2001-02 against Rs230.493 billion during
the same period of 2000-01, showing an increase of 5.23 per cent.
The total revenue from the dutiable imports during
the year 2001-02 stood at Rs48.237 billion against Rs65.047 billion
during the same period of last year, showing a decrease of 25.8 per
FURNACE OIL IMPORT TO END BY JUNE NEXT
Pakistan will be able to meet its furnace oil needs
locally by June next year, thus saving $1 billion annually in foreign
exchange. This was stated by Usman Aminuddin, Federal Minister for
Petroleum and Natural Resources, while talking to newsmen on Monday.
The minister was in city to inaugurate a two-day
seminar organized by the Institution of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers of Pakistan (IEEEP). He rejected WAPDA's accusation that his
ministry was largely responsible for the WAPDA's woes.