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
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
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
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
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
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
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.