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Pakistan may buy Indian rice for exports
Pakistan Times
Pakistan plans to buy 500,000 tonne of rice from India to meet its export commitments in June when domestic stocks will be low.

Head of a visiting delegation of rice exporters from Pakistan, Rahim Janoo told a foreign news wire the plans were part of a peace process between India and Pakistan.

India and Pakistan agreed last month on a "basic roadmap" for peace, aimed at putting decades of enmity behind them and boosting trade.

"Around June, we can buy some non-Basmati rice from India and ship to our customers," Janoo said in an interview. "We are looking at 500,000 tonne of rice. We are currently shipping at $250-260, we would like to have it at a slightly lower price than this from India."

Janoo, head o f leading Pakistani rice exporter Hina Exports and former chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, said Pakistan's rice stocks are generally low around June but exporters were keen to fulfil their trade commitments. "Our visit is a continuation of the peace process," Janoo said, adding: "There was total isolation among us. We don't know you, you don't know us. As the countries are coming closer, why not rice trade also."

The 26-member delegation, visiting India for the first time since independence, will hold discussions with Indian traders over the next few days. The two sides, which compete in the rice export market, plan to sign an agreement to jointly deal with problems faced by grain exporters.

One of the problems is that the European Union has removed duty concessions on some varieties of Basmati rice being produced by India and Pakistan. "The commerce ministries of the two countries took up the matter with EU and got the duty exemption back temporarily until March," he said.

The two nations sell Basmati and non-Basmati rice mainly to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Europe, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Pakistan is expected to export around two million tonne of rice in 2003-04 (July-June) compared with 1.7 million tonne a year ago because of a good crop, Janoo said. Of the total exports, Basmati will constitute around 800,000 tonne, he said.

Rahim Jano said Pakistan was likely to produce 4.9 million tonne of rice in the current crop year compared with 4.3 million tonne in the previous year. "Around half of our output is domestically consumed and the balance we export," the official said.

Pakistani rice millers are planning to buy machines from India for processing rice, which they said were available cheaper than Europe.
MGR Archive 16.3.2004
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