TRADE

 

Aug 05 - 11, 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

DUTY-FREE IMPORT OF JUTE, TEA FROM BD ALLOWED

Pakistan and Bangladesh on Tuesday discussed the whole gamut of bilateral, regional and international issues, and signed cultural and technology exchange agreements to further the existing relations between the two countries.

 

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 Pakistani market.

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 Dhaka soon.

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 wheat.

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 Pervez Musharraf.

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 cent.

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.