Federal Secretary Commerce Munir Qureshi, assuring full support to the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) in resolution of its genuine problems, has asked the exporters to look into the potential markets like Iraq and other untapped adjoining countries to increase the rice exports from Pakistan.
Qureshi was speaking at an Iftar reception arranged by the Reap in his honour the other day. Reception was also addressed by Reap Chairman Javed Islam Agha and former LCCI President Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik, while it was attended by the prominent rice exporters and businessman including Saarc Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik, LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, Malik Jehangir, Tariq Aziz and others. Secretary Commerce said the associations of businessmen and traders played a very important role in strengthening of a sector and ensuring its progress.
He said he would take an appropriate step on abolishing the condition of a rice exporters being member of the Reap. He said he would also look into the issue of barter trade with Iran, which could be a big market for Pakistani rice. He agreed that there were some complications in currency exchange with Iran due to sanctions and assured that the proposal of ‘barter trade’ would be looked into.
He said certainly Iraq was a big market for Pakistani rice but at the same time he advised the rice exporters to check those elements that were bringing a bad name to the country and the rice trade by selling adulterated or substandard rice. He said that such people damaged the whole sector for the sake of some additional profit. Regarding the issue of GI laws raised by the Reap Chairman in his welcome address, the Secretary Commerce said he would check the status of the issue next week. He also advised the rice exporters to sit with the basmati growers to resolve the issue of trade mark in an amicable way.
He invited the rice exporters to Islamabad and said that as they were in the rice trade they should guide the ministry how to tackle the issues such as allowing what sort of foreign seed or sorting out the issues of other issues. He also assured them that he would take up the rice trade’s issues in a meeting on coming trade policy scheduled for Tuesday next. Earlier welcoming the secretary, Reap Chairman said their body was the second largest trade body after APTMA having 1,500 members throughout Pakistan.
“Our rice exports crossed the two billion dollars mark yet again for the fourth consecutive year despite all odds,” he proudly added. He also threw light on various issues being faced by the rice trade such as Philippines’ announcement to grow Basmati rice and plans by some Saudi and Qatar buyers to leave over 200,000 hectares of land in the Philippines.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2012