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EC to notify rice import duty soon
Daily Times, July 11, 2004
The European Commission (EC) will issue a notification regarding the new duty structure on rice import from Pakistan by the end of this month, Najaf Shah, chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), told Daily Times Friday.

“The EC has promised us that Pakistan would be given maximum benefit in the new duty structure,” he said. The commission has withdrawn duty exemption of 250 euros per ton on all kind of basmati rice being exported from Pakistan and India from January 1, which make Pakistani rice uncompetitive in the European market.

In this connection, the federal government and the REAP negotiated with the commission requesting them to reduce duty.

Mr Najaf said: “the negotiation with the commission are successful and the notification would be issued by the end of this month.” He said new import duties would be implemented from September 1.

He hoped the commission would fix basmati rice between 55 euros to 65 euros per ton. Earlier, the local exporters were paying duty of only 15 euros per tons on basmati, while the commission has exempted duty of 250 euros per ton.

Tariq Ghori, member managing committee of REAP, said: “after the positive DNA test of basmati rice, the commission would return import duty to importers.”

He said the commission has accepted the country’s basmati rice as product of Pakistan.

Chinese delegation: Mr Ghori said a Chinese team has reached Karachi to review quality of Pakistan’s basmati rice, which they intend to import. The team would also visit Lahore on July 12, he said.

Mr Ghouri said the Chinese delegation has expressed their interest to purchase of Irri-6 and the country can easily export 200,000 tons to 300,000 tons rice to China. “If the Chinese delegation approved the quality of Pakistani rice, local exporters would get access in the Chinese market, which is the biggest market of the world,” he said.

Pakistan is exporting 80 percent of its total production of basmati rice to European countries and after the abatment of 250 euros duty most of the exporters stopped their exports to European countries awaiting decision of the EC.

Pakistan’s commerce minister has formally asked the EC to seek Islamabad’s opinion before modifying its current rice import regime with a view to establishing a system of tariff rate quotas (TRQs).
MGR Archive 13.7.2004
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