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Pakistan may resume exporting rice to Mexico
ISLAMABAD: The government has asked Mexico to send a delegation of experts to Pakistan for talks on rice export resumption.

Mexico stopped importing Pakistani rice over a decade ago. Mexico banned rice import from Pakistan after its authorities alleged that Pakistani rice was infected with a kind of virus, a senior government official told the Daily Times on Saturday.

Pakistan is taking the step after 10 years as rice exporters hold the Pakistani authorities responsible for the very long delay in taking up the issue with Mexican authorities. The response is slow despite the fact that President General Pervez Musharraf had taken up the issue with Mexican authorities during his visit to Mexico a few years back, claim rice exporters.

Mexico banned the rice import from Pakistan after its authorities reported that the rice was infected with khupra beetle virus. The move was taken as non-tariff barrier as every country of the WTO are authorized to take such step, which is generally aimed at saving people from diseases, which could spread with virus.

However, the official said that Mexico’s fears are based on mere hypothesis. Acutally, around 1995, the Mexico government put a number of countries on a list and were denied access to the market under the SPS measure. Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Pakistan and a number of other countries were put on the list. Pakistan was included in the list without having its rice tested by the Mexican authorities separately. It was a general assumption, the official said.

The official said that the ministry of food, agriculture and livestock (MINFAL) has written a letter through proper channel to Mexican authorities to send a delegation of experts to hold meetings with the Pakistani authorities on the issue. They will be informed about the exact situation. No khupra beetle has ever been found in Pakistani rice, the official said.

Before the ban, Pakistan’s rice export to Mexico amounted to 273 million dollars. Mainly Basmati was exported to that market. The official admitted that it is not money that concerns us. The actual concern is the bad name Pakistani rice is getting in the international market.
MGR Archive 28.5.2006
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