Commerce minister Humayun Akhtar Khan told a news conference that the government was also launching a major diplomatic effort to stop imposition of the duty on a major Pakistani textile product.
Responding to a question on free trade agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka, the minister said the finalisation of lists has been delayed mainly because to political crisis in Sri Lanka.
He, however, agreed that duties on the import of agriculture products like potato, onion and rice was very high and Pakistan wanted reduction in these duties. He said Pakistan, in return has delayed duty concession on Sri Lankan tea and hoped that the issue would be resolved on a give- and- take basis whenever the talks resumed.
The minister said exports during the month of January have amounted to $1.093 billion against $0.946 million in the same month last year, showing an increase of 15.52 per cent. He said the imports in January 2004 amounted to $1.344 billion against $1.053 billion in the corresponding month last year, registering an increase of 27.65 per cent.
As such, the trade gap widened by 135 per cent during the month of January as it amounted to $250 million this year compared with $106.6 million in the same month last year.
In overall terms, the exports during the first seven months of the current fiscal year have amounted to $6.974 billion compared with $6.144 billion of the same period last year showing an increase of 13.52 per cent.
The minister said that the seven-month export target was set at $6.813 billion which has been surpassed by two per cent. He said that $12.1 billion export target for the current fiscal year would be easily achieved.
The imports during the seven months (June-January) have amounted to $7.949 billion this year compared to $6.841 billion in the same period last year, showing an increase of 16.20 per cent.
Consequently, the trade gap has increased by 39.84 per cent during the first seven months of the current fiscal year and stood at $974 million against $697 million of the same period last year.
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