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News Clips 11 February, 2014

[ Customs post at Wagha soon ]
[ Finance ministry asked to release funds for export promotion ]
[ Swedish ambassador for diversification of Pak exports ]
Customs post at Wagha soon   [ top ]
Daily Dawn, February 11, 2014
KARACHI: The Wagha customs post has been completed and would soon start functioning to facilitate trade with Pakistan.
This was stated by the Indian High Commissioner, Dr T.C. Raghavan, here on Monday while speaking to office-bearers and members of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) and organising committee of ‘Made In Pakistan Expo 2014.’
Raghavan said that customs post on Indian side now has been completed and has start examining goods at mass scale.
He further said that India has not imposed any kind of ban on Pakistan’s truckloads of goods entering India and at Wahga border and their movement is continuing.
Regarding non-tariff barriers (NTBs), he said it was up to the government to keep whatever it considers better for the country.
Dr Raghavan said that Pakistan’s exporter should be strong and more effective to enhance their market share in India.
He said that China in a very short period of time has captured $40 billion market in India and its trade is still growing. 
Finance ministry asked to release funds for export promotion   [ top ]
Daily Dawn, February 11, 2014
ISLAMABAD: The Export Development Fund (EDF) Board on Monday urged the finance ministry to release the withheld amounts collected from export proceeds meant for implementation of export promotion measures. 
The board meeting, headed by its Chairman Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has recommended to the finance ministry to release the amount as per the Export Development Act 1999. 
An amendment was made in the EDF in 2005, which binds the ministry of finance to transfer the entire collection of export development surcharge (EDS) to the EDF for spending on the export promotion measures from the country. 
The EDS is levied on all exports at the rate of 0.25 per cent of fob value of goods. As per law, the entire receipts of EDS are transferred to EDF in the following year. The ministry of commerce used these funds for implementation of measures to facilitate and enhance exports from the country. 
Since 2005-06, it is estimated that more than Rs16 billion EDF was diverted by the finance ministry for bridging the yawning current expenditures deficit, leading to poor implementation of export promotion measures in the last years. 
Of the total amount collected, the Musharraf led government had withheld only Rs1.266bn. While the PPP led coalition government has broken the previous record and withheld all time high of Rs14bn in the last five years. 
The board meeting urged the finance ministry for the release of the withheld amount and allocation of funds according to the Act in future. 
The meeting approved funds for the ongoing projects like fibre classification system of ministry of textile, vapor heat treatment (VHT) for fresh fruits and national trade and transport facilitation corridor (NTTFC). 
The funds approved for the new projects include cotton ginning research centre in Multan, Garment City and Shrimp Farming in Karachi and setting up of a Saarc Chamber display centre and research institute. 
The meeting also approved a standard format for project appraisal, monitoring and evaluation. Currently, there was no format available with the ministry of commerce. 
The ministry of food security was asked to recommend food products and projects for its export promotion from the country. Special focus will be given to products of the under developed areas and women entrepreneurs. 
The EDF funds will be specially focused on enhancement of competitiveness especially for the data sector. Similarly, projects will be initiated for other fruits as well. 
The stakeholders were also asked for submitting project for irradiation as quarantine treatment in mangoes, which is demand of the importers. 
Swedish ambassador for diversification of Pak exports   [ top ]
Daily Times, February 11, 2014
KARACHI: Ambassador of Sweden in Pakistan, Tomas Rosader has stressed on diversification of Pakistani exports to the European Union including Sweden after the grant of GSP-plus status to Pakistan. GSP- plus facility will open immense opportunities for Pakistan, if properly pursued and come up with a better strategy with special focus on innovations and diversification of Pakistani products and services instead of remaining confined to traditional textile goods, he said. The Swedish Ambassador was speaking during an interactive meeting with members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( KCCI) at the Chamber here, said a KCCI release on Monday. Sweden has always been a strong supporter to Pakistan in European Union’s grant of GSP-plus status, which has become effective since January 1, 2014, he said. He underlined the need that both the countries should strengthen their relationship further to match with the existing great potential of trade enhancement between the two countries. President KCCI Aamir Abdullah Zaki, Managing Committee members Agha Shahab , Zafar Saeed, Zahid Iqbal, Silwat Afzal, Advisor KCCI Banking and Insurance Sub-Committee, Ateeq-ur-Rehman and others were also present at the meeting.