TRADE

 

Nov 25 - Dec 01 , 2002

 

1.INTERNATIONAL

2. INDUSTRY

3. FINANCE

4. POLICY

5. TRADE

6. GULF

 

PAKISTAN, US AGREE TO SIGN FTA SOON

Pakistan and the United States have agreed to shortly sign a free trade agreement (FTA) to greatly help each other's businessmen."There should not be tariff barriers and we will work with our Pakistani friends to sign this FTA," said US Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill.

 

Speaking at a joint news conference with Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz at the end of the Pak US Joint Economic Forum, he said the US was currently holding talks with many countries and various other international organizations to sign FTA to mutually benefit each other.

The two sides, he said, also discussed the possibilities of market access, especially for textile sector, as it would generate jobs and trigger economic growth in Pakistan. The Forum also considered initiating the process for free trade agreement.

Pakistan assured of taking necessary measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing activities. It was pointed out that an Act was in an advance stage of finalization and would be placed in the parliament for approval. An anti-money Laundering Coordination Unit has been set up at the Ministry of Finance to coordinate policy making as well as introduction between various agencies like Ministry of Interior, Foreign Affairs, the State Bank of Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau and security agencies.

The US and Pakistan would work to encourage bilateral private sector investment, expand trade, pursue poverty alleviation, micro-financing, debt relief, increased economic cooperation, social sectors funding and information technology, reporters were informed.

The Forum was established last April and its first meeting was held in Washington. It is an institutionalized arrangement to facilitate periodic consultations on economic issues, matters of mutual interest and facilitate ways for increasing mutual economic relations between the two countries.

PASSCO MAY EXPORT SURPLUS WHEAT

The government is likely to allow Passco to export surplus wheat till the end of the current month, said a senior official.

The decision was expected to be taken in a meeting of Wheat Disposal Committee.

According to the official, Sindh food department had sent a request to the federal government seeking permission to export 100,000 tons of surplus wheat.

The committee had earlier allowed Passco to export surplus wheat laying with the Punjab food department till November 15.

The wheat committee would be presided over by Privatization Minister Altaf Saleem, which was to be attended among others by senior officials from the ministries of finance, commerce and agriculture.

Pakistan has exported 1.7 million tons of wheat till November 15, 2002, said the official.

LEATHER EXPORT FALLS BY 25PC

Leather export has registered a decline of about 25 per cent during last two months as compared to the corresponding period last year.

The shortfall in exports of leather garments and leather is being attributed to continuous recession in the world market after the 9/11, decline in prices and fall in foreign buyers' demand.

The factors have also affected export of leather garments from other countries like China, India and Turkey dropping from 20 to 50 per cent. Furthermore, change of trends and fashions and changed weather conditions have compelled the consumer to go for other products instead of leather garments which mostly used in chilly winter, which is yet to come.

EU MAY REIMPOSE DUTY ON BEDLINEN

The representative body of Europe's textile industry, Eurocoton, has filed a complaint against imports of bedlinen from Pakistan suggesting for the imposition of new anti-dumping duties.

The European Union (EU), which has already refused to allow flexibility or spread quota of 4000 tons annually to Pakistan, is expected to take tough stand particularly when Islamabad has not placed any order for Airbus, which is jointly manufactured by some EU member states.

As per the rules, EU initiates proceedings 45 days after the filing of the complaint, and in this way the case is most likely to come up for hearing in the first week of next month.

CHINA INTERESTED IN INCREASING DIRECT TRADE

China is interested in increasing direct bilateral trade with Pakistan, especially in textile sector, head of the Chinese purchasing team, Wang Qihui said.

During his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said that 87 per cent of total imports from Pakistan to China comprised cotton yarn 60pc, cotton fabric 70pc, Chemicals 8pc and remaining leather and leather products.

He said that Pakistan should offer a bigger range of products as it could find China a good market for quality products at competitive rates. He stressed that the competitiveness was important for Chinese market as it was part of the World Trade Organization.

REFINANCE RATE CUT

The State Bank is in a fix. Its officials are not sure how they will cut the export refinance rate next month. The exporters, on the other hand, are all waiting for this.

BAN ON GENETICALLY MODIFIED BASMATI RICE SOUGHT

Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) is against the promotion of genetically modified basmati rice and has urged the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to immediately impose ban on its cultivation.

The association has pointed out that presently various world markets are conscious and concerned about "genetically modified products" and ban has been imposed by many countries on import of these varieties.