UNISAME opposes export of rice to India

Karachi: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) urged Makhdoom Amin Faheem Federal Commerce Minister not to shift Pakistani Rice from negative list to positive list in the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status being given to India.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said on Monday that India and Pakistan are the only 2 nations growing basmati rice and both are competing globally since decades. It is not in the interest of Pakistan to export Basmati rice to India as it will prove disadvantageous in the long run. Pakistan will lose its identity as Indian merchants are capable of importing Pakistani rice and after polishing and processing it will sell it as Indian rice to selected customers globally, he contended.

He said even non-basmati rice is not advisable as in the past India disallowed export of non-basmati rice due to shortfall as in India rice is a staple crop and it has a huge population eating non-basmati rice as the price is lower as compared to basmati rice. Whenever India has disallowed export of non-basmati rice, the global buyers resort to Pakistan so there is no need to enter into an agreement which is commercially not beneficial to Pakistan, he advised.

Pakistan does not need to import rice from India as Pakistan has enough rice to feed its population and export as well as rice is not the staple crop of Pakistan and as observed that despite floods and crop damage Pakistan has remained in a position to meet its domestic requirements and maintain supplies to its customers globally, he argued.

He urged the Ministry of Commerce to consider the pros and cons and avoid inclusion of rice in the commodities permissible for import and export to India.

He also urged the Chairman Javed Islam Agha of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) to explain the disadvantages to the ministry of commerce immediately so that no decision is taken in haste by the ministry which seems in pressure to oblige the Indian bureaucracy.

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