Category Archives: Trade and industry

South Asia to gain when Pakistan frees trade with India: SAARC Chamber head

NEW DELHI: The free trade pact among eight member nations of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SAARC will be operational by year-end once Pakistan grants India most-favoured nation MFN status, says a top chamber chief.

“The South Asian Free Trade Area SAFTA will lead to complete integration of trade and commerce among eight SAARC countries. Most favoured nation status to India is a hindrance,” said Vikramjit Singh Sahney, President of SAARC Chamber.

“But we are pushing for it. We have been assured it will come soon. Once Pakistan grants such status to India, it will pave way for full implementation of SAFTA protocol,” Sahney told India, Asia News Service IANS in an interview Wednesday.

MFN status is designation under norms governing World Trade Organization WTO, which means a member’s country must treat all other members equally when it comes to market access. India gave such status to Pakistan in 1996, but Islamabad refused, in part because it says New Delhi imposes non-tariff barriers that prevent its companies from accessing Indian market.

Instead, Pakistan had been limiting its imports from India to less than 2,000 items under a “positive list” — which, too, is set to change to a “negative list” of 1,200 items. “This list will also be phased out largely by the year-end,” Sahney said.

According to him, recent warmth in business relations between India & Pakistan — which was evident when Indian Commerce Minister visited Islamabad, Karachi & Lahore last month — was a good sign for regional integration.

“The success of SAFTA depends on India and Pakistan. The recent developments show that things are moving in right direction,” he said, adding bilateral trade can double in just one year if Pakistan grants India MFN status is granted.

Formal trade between India and Pakistan was recorded at $2.7 billion in 2010-11. Through third countries like the UAE, this trade is estimated at $10 billion. The balance is heavily in favour of India with its exports at $2.3 billion and imports around $400 million.

Among SAARC countries, intra-regional trade accounts for a mere six percent of total overseas engagement even as the eight countries constitute 22 percent of global population.

Pakistan earlier maintained a “positive list” of 1,946 items, which were allowed to be imported from India. Now it will notify a “negative list” of 1,209 items and they alone will be banned for import from India.

Sahney said even though negative list of 1,209 items is larger than industry’s expectations, the promise to phase out list altogether over a short period of time was the move in the right direction.

SAFTA signed in January 2004 at 12th SAARC Summit in Islamabad calls for gradual elimination of trade and investment barriers among India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka & Bhutan towards a common customs union. Afghanistan joined the pact in 2007.

Export of rice under barter system like wheat to Iran suggested

KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) appreciated the permission to export wheat to Iran under barter system and urged the ministry of commerce (MOC) to allow barter trade for the export of rice and other commodities as well and also urged the MOC to expedite the procedure for barter for wheat to enable commencement of business,

UNISAME has drawn the attention of federal commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim to the increase in smuggling between Iran and Pakistan due to absence of currency swap agreement (CSA) or barter for export of rice and other commodities and in return import of plastic granules of different grades and petroleum chemicals.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said despite the several request of the rice exporters to the MOC to arrange currency swap agreement with Iran the MOC has failed to conclude the CSA resulting in increase of smuggling of plastic granules from Iran which have flooded the markets.

The government is losing on sales tax, import duties and valuable foreign exchange which could have been saved by virtue of the CSA.

He urged the MOC to immediately first allow barter trade agreements between trade houses of Pakistan and Iran to enable the exporters and importers in both the countries enter into mini barters with the blessing of both the governments to promote and encourage healthy trade.

Secondly the MOC should pursue the CSA with Iran as due to sanctions the commercial banks are not issuing Form E for shipments to Iran although there is no sanction on food and medicines.

Cotton arrivals substantial increase, exports rise significant

KARACHI: There has been a substantial increase of more than 25 percent in arrival of cotton in markets of the country this season compared to last season. There has also been significant rise of 77 percent year-on-year in cotton exports this season.

Citing figures from Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association PCGA, Muhammad Azam, Secretary General & COO of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association APTMA said compared to total arrivals of 11,502,408 cotton bales of 170 kg each during 2010-11 season up to March 1, 2011, a total of 14,378,962 bales have arrived in market this season up to March 1, 2012. Thus, there has been an increase of 2,876,534 bales or 25.01 percent over the previous season.

On number of cotton bales pressed by various ginneries across the country, he said up to March 1, 2012 this season, 14,301,516 bales were pressed at various ginneries. In comparison, 11,467,821 bales were pressed during same period in 2010-11. Thus, 2,833,695 bales or 24.71 percent more bales have been pressed this season, he added.

On cotton exports, he said exports have boomed 77.89 percent this season. Pakistan exported 920,706 bales up to March 1 this season, against exports of 517,567 bales registered during same period last season. Thus, 403,139 more bales have been exported this season.

Textile mills have consumed only 17.68 percent or 1,871,840 more bales this season compared to previous season. Up to March 1, 2012, mills purchased 12,462,112 cotton bales, against their purchase of 10,590,272 bales during same period in 2010-11season, he said.

Pakistan, India, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation trade bodies join to foster economic cooperation

KARACHI: Leaders of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry FPCCI, Confederation of Indian Industry CII and SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry SAARC CCI join hands to foster Indo-Pakistan economic cooperation through meaningful collaboration in areas of mutual interests.

This was resolved in meeting at New Delhi between Tariq Sayeed, Vice President CACCI, former & Founder President SAARC CCI & former President FPCCI, Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President SAARC CCI & former President FPCCI & CII officials Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Ms Supriya Bannerji, Deputy Director General & Manish Mohan, Additional Director, who discussed mechanism to develop sustainable cooperation by joint ventures in industries with particular focus on cooperation in SMEs.

FPCCI press release Friday said CII showed interest to become SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry member and proposed annual get-together including B-2-B meetings, match-makings in specific areas and launching website for exchange of business information. They agreed on frequent exchange of delegations, participation, organization of fairs, exhibitions on reciprocal basis.

Iftikhar Malik said enormous potential exists in automobile sector, which could further be tapped through joint ventures, transfer of technology, which will help improve standard of manufacturing automobile in Pakistan. Tariq Sayeed said CII SAARC CCI had done necessary amendment in Constitution, which allows two Chambers & Associations in addition to national chambers (already primary members) from each member states with object to broaden scope of cooperation.

Indonesian Trade Exhibition in Hyderabad held

HYDERABAD: Divisional Commissioner Hyderabad Ahmed Bux Narejo has said that the cultural exchange between Muslim countries would further strengthen the brotherhood and raise their socioeconomic status.

This he observed while addressing inaugural ceremony of Indonesian Production Exhibition at local hotel on Saturday.

He was hopeful that this kind of interactions and cultural & trade exchange will boost tourism and bilateral trade between the two countries. “Indonesia is the largest Muslim country and Pakistan is the second largest one and we have a history of cooperation and help to our Muslim brothers.

He said that during the Indonesian National Revolution, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah encouraged Muslim soldiers to join hands with Indonesians against the Dutch Empire. He said that Indonesia and Pakistan also exchange military personnel for training. “We are together in OIC and support the interests of Muslims.

Narejo further said that size of trade between the two countries is around $ 1 billion which needs to be enhanced. “I hope we will be importing more products from Indonesia apart from palm oil.

He invited Indonesian brethren to invest in energy sector and agro based industry in Hyderabad Division for which they will be welcomed and fully facilitated and added that they will find a conducive environment here.

Consul General of Indonesia Mr. Rossalis said that Pakistan possess good potential for investment in various fields due to its resources and investment friendly policies of the present democratic government. He said that the law & order in Pakistan was considerably better as compare to past. He said that foreign investors were being facilitated accordingly and added that this will pave the way for the economic prosperity of the common people.

He said that in addition to have religious brotherhood, Pakistan and Indonesian were also enjoying good friendly relation as well.

President of Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry Seth Goharullah extended full support to the Indonesian traders and government for strengthening trade relations and added that shortly a group of Industries of Pakistan would arrange same programs in Indonesia.

Pakistan-British joint ventures discussed

LAHORE: Francis Campbell, the Deputy British High Commissioner and Director for UK Trade and Investment, met with Ibrahim Qureshi, President Business Forum Punjab (BFP), on Wednesday here at a local hotel.

The representatives of BFP, an initiative by PakPur Foundation, including Chairman BFP Nabeel Hashmi, Vice President Hussain Fazal, General Secretary Sohail Yousaf and Chairman PakPur Foundation Haroon Khawaja were also present on this occasion besides other board members. They discussed various collaborative efforts between UK and Pakistan businesses.

On this occasion, Ibrahim Qureshi said that several key projects and collaborations have already been initiated between BFP and the interests that Deputy British High Commissioner Francis Campbell represents. These include a pulp manufacturing plant, the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway, a 20-MW (expandable to 200-MW) coal power plant, and numerous partnerships between local and British universities.

Chairman BFP Nabeel Hashmi said that additional assistance had been requested from Deputy British High Commissioner, Francis Campbell, in developing a compliance regime in the meat, products and services. He also highlighted opportunities in automobile and pharmaceutical sectors.