TRADE

 

Sep 23 - 29, 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

US PANEL OKAYS TEXTILE BENEFIT FOR PAKISTAN

A congressional committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would provide Pakistan a small reward for its help in the US war on terrorism by eliminating duties on imports of certain hand-made rugs.

 

The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee approved the miscellaneous trade bill on a voice vote.

The bill would make the rugs eligible for duty-free treatment under the US Generalized System of Preferences programme. Pakistan would be the primary beneficiary, although Turkey, Nepal, Egypt and Morocco could also see increased sales as a result of the move, congressional aides said.

Committee staff estimated the value of the trade benefit at about $35 million over five years.

In February the Bush administration announced $142 million in textile trade benefits for Pakistan.

That was far short of the more than $1 billion in concessions Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had sought.

Pakistan's bid for reduced tariffs on an assortment of textile goods ran into opposition from US producers, who said a surge in imports from Asia had already cost the industry tens of thousands of jobs.

However, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute has said they would not object to duty-free access for the hand-made rugs because there are no US producers.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Thomas, a California Republican, hopes for a full House vote on the trade bill as early as next week, a committee aide said.

In addition to the Pakistan provision, the legislation would suspend US duties on a long list of mostly complex chemical products.

The Senate must also act on the legislation before it could be sent to President George W. Bush for his signature.

RICE EXPORTERS AGAINST DOUBLE PSI

Small and medium size rice exporters have asked the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) not to insist for quality inspection of basmati rice because their consignment had been already certified by a reputed pre-shipment inspection agency.

The convener of Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) Zulfikar Thaver in a statement issued on Thursday, pointed out that the reputed inspection agencies were nominated for inspection either by buyer or the country of the buyer and these are companies who are carrying out inspection professionally under a system and have valid inspection licenses. Their certification cannot be set aside by Quality Review Committee (QRC), he added.

DEFENCE EXPORTS DOUBLED: AZIZ

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen Aziz Khan, has said that Pakistan is a peaceful country but it "cannot allow itself to become an easy prey to those who have hegemonistic designs against us."

Addressing a news conference at the venue of Ideas 2002 Arms for Peace Exhibition on Wednesday, he declared: "We are determined to defend our territorial integrity and sovereignty at all costs."

Pakistan's defence exports have doubled over the last two years, he said, adding they had risen from US $40 million to US $80 million, representing a 100 per cent increase since the Ideas 2000.

TUNISIA FOR INCREASED EXPORT QUOTA

The Tunisian government has asked for enhancement of fertilizer exports quota to Pakistan aiming to bridge the trade gape between the two countries.

The decision to this effect is likely to be taken in the forthcoming Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) meeting later this month, a senior official in the Ministry of Commerce told on Thursday.

The JMC meeting would be attended among others by Privatization Minister Altaf Saleem and representatives from the private sector.

Tunisian fertilizer exports to Pakistan amounted to $7.171 million during the financial year 2001-02, against $9.737 million during the fiscal 2000-01, showing a decrease of 26.35 per cent.

RAW SUGAR, PSF IMPORT BANNED UNDER DTRE

The government has banned the import of raw sugar and polyester staple fibre (PSF) under the Duty and Tax Remission for Export (DTRE) scheme.

The Central Board of Revenue (CBR) issued a notification on Tuesday in this connection making amendments in the revised DTRE Rules 2001.

The decision was taken following the complaints of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) and manufacturers of PSF that the import of the two products under DTRE scheme might harm the local productions.

ASIAN STATES BIGGEST DEFENCE SPENDERS IN WORLD

Countries, like Pakistan, which do not make adequate investment in social sector and do not have the financial strength to match their defence preparedness, have been advised by experts to look at force multipliers and technological upgrades.

This was the consensus of experts who presented their papers in the second session of the international seminar held in connection with Ideas-2002 on Monday.

However, general participants maintained that in a country where non-military investment is negligible, the marketing exhibitions like Ideas 2002, for the capital-intensive military hardware and technology, represent the specific mindset.

DEFENCE ACCORD SIGNED WITH AZERBAIJAN

Pakistan and Azerbaijan on Tuesday signed an agreement to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries, on the second day of the defence exhibition 'IDEAS-2002'.

Col Gen Safar Abijev, defence minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Defence Secretary Hamid Nawaz Khan signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments.

According to the agreement, the two countries would promote military training, exchange of personnel, military exercises, exchange of information, use of facilities and cooperation in defence, science and industry.