TRADE

 

Sep 30 - Oct 06, 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

GENEVA MOOT TO THRASH OUT DIFFERENCES

A crucial meeting between industrialized nations and developing countries is being held in Geneva on Monday, to thrash out their differences on trade issues on textile quota-free world in 2005 and beyond.

 

There is a growing concern among the developing countries that the process of phasing out of apparel and textile quota by developed nations is much slower than it was originally anticipated.

A message received from Geneva indicates that representatives from developing countries Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Pakistan will take strong position and press upon the European Union and the United States to speed up the phasing out process of textile quota to meet the deadline of Dec 31, 2004.

This will be the first meeting where textile and apparel industry leaders from the developed and developing nations will sit face-to-face and try to remove each others apprehensions about trade issues related to quota-free era beginning from the year 2005.

Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood, accompanied by secretary commerce Mirza Qamar Baig, is expected to represent Pakistan where textile industry leaders from over 25 countries will be attending the meeting.

These negotiations will be taking place against the backdrop of the on-going global trade talks among 144 World Trade Organization member nations. The WTO member nations dealing in textile and apparel trade are expected to discuss and negotiate issues such as tariff reductions and quota phase out, and try to find "common ground."

Director of economic affairs at Euratex, an alliance of all of the national textile and apparel groups in the European Union, Francesco Marchi was quoted to have said: "This is the first meeting to allow everybody to exchange their real problems and threats. It will not be easy but we hope that industries are less dogmatic than governments and that some breakthrough will be realized or that at least people leaving the conference will have the feeling of a better understanding of each others' positions."

CARS, BIKES SALES RISE IN JULY-AUG

The entire auto sector managed to sell higher number of units and earned good sales in July-August 2002, marked by the rise in sales of cars and bikes by 15 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively. Sales of trucks, buses and LCVs also jumped by 94, 35, 39 and eight per cent, respectively, during the same period.

Consumers bought 15 per cent more cars in the first two months of the new fiscal with a total sales of 7,897 units as compared to 6,852 units in July-August 2001. As a result of boom in sales, manufacturers had to gear up the production to 8,114 units in the last two months as compared to 6,37 units in the same period of 2001, up by 28 per cent.

The increase in production is also attributed to the government's instruction to expedite assembly of sedans and delivery to the consumers in two months instead of three months to cope with the rising demand.

A total of 1,684 units of Toyota Corolla were produced as compared to 1,093 units, while sales peaked to 1,572 units as against 1,234 units. Despite expanding the production, customers are still facing delays in delivery. Indus Motors Company (IMC) has recently informed their buyers that it would pay mark-up to all those customers who have booked vehicles after August 16, 2002, in case vehicle is not delivered in 60 days.

TURKMEN GAS PROJECT LIFTS HOPE OF PROSPERITY

Once, it was envisioned as a pipeline of peace in central and south Asia.

Then the idea was shattered by war in Afghanistan. Now it's back, with dreams of boosting prosperity for some of the world's poorest countries.

The project is a gas pipeline from the vast Dauletabad-Donmez fields of Turkmenistan that would cross the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan to a terminus in Pakistan.

And maybe, if traditional enmities are overcome, it could even extend to energy-parched India.

Ministers from the three countries were meeting this week in Kabul to discuss a feasibility study to be financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

BOARD TO SET CLEAN COTTON STANDARDS

The government has appointed a permanent high powered Pakistan Standard Cotton Board (PSCB) to set clean cotton standards and later certify its quality acceptable to international markets like Liverpool Cotton market.

A senior commerce ministry official told on Wednesday that a decision to this effect was taken in principle by the federal cabinet and formal announcement would be made jointly by ministers for commerce and agriculture Abdul Razak Dawood and Khair Mohammad Junejo respectively on Thursday and explain salient features of the Cotton Standard Ordinance.

The board would comprise three ministers of finance, commerce and agriculture, besides representatives of Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh, Trading Corporation of Pakistan, Pakistan Cotton Committee, Pakistan Standard Cotton Institute, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association and three growers one each from Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh.

US ASSURES SOFT LOANS, INCREASED INVESTMENT: SHAUKAT

The Bush administration has assured Pakistan of concessional lending and increased American investment.

"The US Import and Export (EXIM) Bank has initially decided to make available $120 million for National Bank of Pakistan, United Bank Limited (UBL) and Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) to help open letter of credits for exporters." This was stated by Minister for Finance Shaukat Aziz on Monday.

The US Chamber of Commerce will be extending all the support to set up this business council. Similarly, he said, matters pertaining to signing of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and the US will also be discussed. However, he said, the talks would take about a year.

The issue of $317 million to be paid by the US government in connection with logistics will also come under discussion with the US authorities.