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Mexico considers lifting ban on Pakistani rice
Mexico has agreed to consider lifting a ban on the import of Pakistani rice, a government official told Daily Times. He said President Pervez Musharraf had raised the issue during his recent visit to Mexico.

“Mexico had placed quarantine restrictions on the import of Pakistani rice in 1995 on the plea that it was infected with a virus,” the official said.

During his visit, the president had told Mexican authorities that the US and European countries were importing rice from Pakistan and had no objections to its quality. The Mexican government has now told the Pakistani government that it would consider lifting the ban, the official said. As a result, the ministry of commerce has asked Rice Export Association of Pakistan (REAP) to submit its proposals.

The official said that the Government of Pakistan has decided to make an agreement with Mexico to formally initiate the dialogue for a free trade agreement (FTA). “Both countries agreed that a study must be conducted from both sides for there to be a FTA,” he said.

The official said that an inter-ministerial conference that was held a few months back at the commerce ministry had approved of the initiated process required to enter a FTA with Mexico. The commerce minister, the minister of industries and the minister of food, agriculture and livestock had taken part in the meeting.

“Mexico is a member of the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) - the most influential trading block in the world. If Pakistan manages a FTA with Mexico, it will be very easy for Pakistan to increase its influence in the block,” said the official. He said Pakistan could penetrate deep into US markets through Mexico.

He said Mexico was very strong in agriculture, handicrafts and beverages, but did not manufacture textile products, so Pakistan could export these products to Mexico, which could export these on to the US because of its FTA with America. “Mexico also has a FTA with the European Union, so Pakistan could also penetrate European markets,” he said. The official said that currently there was very little trade between Pakistan and Mexico. Mexico’s total exports stood at $158.4 billion, he said and added that Canada and US had increased trade volume by 56 percent through the NAFTA platform.
MGR Archive 9.1.2005
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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