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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Feb-04 - Feb-10, 2002

250 tons cement per day being exported

Pakistani cement has started trickling out to the war-torn Afghanistan, and DG Cement, a giant privatized unit, is supplying 250 tons a day.

"We have set up a warehousing facility between Chaman (Pakistan) and Kandahar in Afghanistan to supply 20,000 tons initially," Mian Mohammad Mansha, the chairman of DG Cement said on Wednesday.

He said another Pakistani cement company has also set up distribution arrangements on the Northern side near Kabul. Mansha was, however, not in a position to assess the full potential of cement demand from Afghanistan.

"It all depends on the disbursement pace of 4.5 billion dollars committed for Afghanistan reconstruction by the donors community in Tokyo this month," he said.

Mian Mansha signed on Wednesday a debt rescheduling agreement with the team of the executives of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an affiliate of the World Bank to finance private sector projects.

Peter Woicke, leader of the visiting IFC team who signed the agreement said that the corporation is extending financial assistance of $20 million in gas sector and $1.6 million in other areas.

The IFC has completed debt rescheduling with all its client private power and cement projects in Pakistan. With a total exposure of about 400 million dollars in Pakistan, the IFC completed on Wednesday the debt restructuring for Pakistan's leading cement manufacturer DG Khan Cement Company.

Those who signed the rescheduling agreement were Mian Mohammad Mansha, Chairman, Raza Mansha, Executive Director of the DG Cement project and the leader of the visiting IFC team Peter Woicke. Also to put their signature were the officials of the participating syndicating banks, Standard Chartered, Grindlays Bank, Deutsche Bank A.G., Agricole IndoSuez and ABN Amro.

EC removes dumping duty: Bedlinen

The European Commission (EC) has, with immediate effect, terminated anti-dumping duty imposed on bedlinen imports from Pakistan about five years ago.

The revised calculation carried out by the commission to evaluate the injury, if any, inflicted upon the textile industry of the European Union's (EU) member states did not find any dumping of Pakistani bedlinen.

Consequently, the EC through its council regulation (EC) No 160/2002 of Jan 28, 2002 has with immediate effect terminated the proceeding with regard to imports of bedlinen from Pakistan.

According to the findings of the commission, there is no dumping of bedlinen by Pakistan, whereas the level of dumping by India and Egypt has decreased.

The anti-dumping duty on imports from India were suspended on August 14, 2001, but the suspension period is due to expire on February 14, 2002, unless a review is initiated.

Pakistan to increase imports from Bangladesh

Pakistan is to increase its imports from Bangladesh and look for new areas of economic cooperation, Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood said on Monday.

During an official visit, the minister told Bangladesh's Prime Minister Khaleda Zia that Islamabad would increase imports of tea, jute, leather and pharmaceutical products from Bangladesh.

The official BSS news agency reported that after official talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Amir Mahmud Khashru Chowdhury, Razak said both sides had agreed to promote bilateral trade and seek new areas of cooperation.

Officials said Dhaka asked for a reduction in the trade gap which is currently heavily in Pakistan's favour.

Pakistani exports to Bangladesh in the last fiscal year were worth $90.53 million against imports of $30.2 million.

Export finance facility restored

The exporters of bleached/unbleached cloth fabric can now avail of export finance facility under part I of the export finance scheme. But they can get the facility against only such bleached/unbleached fabric whose export price is more than $3 per square meter.

The State Bank announced on Wednesday that the decision would take immediate effect. The central bank had discontinued export finance facility for the exporters of bleached/ unbleached fabric from July 1, 2001. Ever since this discontinuation "the SBP has been receiving representations from the exporters" for reinstatement of the facility especially for "those categories having sufficient value addition in terms of export price vis-a-vis average export price of the commodity." Hence the decision to reinstate the facility.

SBP cuts export refinance rate

The State Bank of Pakistan on Tuesday reduced the rate of export refinance under Export Finance Scheme to 7 per cent, effective from February 1.

The SBP circular says: "It has decided that effective from February 1, 2002 the rate at which State Bank allow refinance to banks on their disbursement to exporters under EFS shall be 7 per annum."

Sale of smuggled spices on rise

The enormous smuggling of spices into Jodia Bazar has led to oversupply position, making the smuggled commodity cheaper by five to 10 per cent as compared to items arriving through legal imports.

According to Chairman, Pakistan Kiryana Merchants Association (PKMA), Haji Usman, smuggled spices like cloves is being sold at Rs25,500-26,000 per 40 kg as against Rs27,000, arriving through legal channels.