KARACHI - The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) invited immediate attention of the Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir to increase in import duty on Indian rice by Iran and the urgent need now to facilitate Pakistani rice exporters to Iran to receive payment of export bills in rupees.
President Unisame Zulfikar Thaver said India benefited a lot by facilitating its exporters to export to Iran and receive payment in Indian rupees and increased its basmati rice exports to Iran substantially as there was no competition from Pakistan. He said Iran has raised its import duty on Indian basmati rice from 22pc to 40pc and Indian exporters are now in turmoil. Thaver urged the Minister Khurram Dastagir to act promptly and make arrangements with Iran for receiving payment in Pakistani rupees for all exports to Iran to enable the Pakistani basmati rice exporters regain their lost market as this is an opportunity and every effort must be made to re-enter the Iranian market.
The Iranian market likes Pakistani super basmati rice which is aromatic, tasty, elongates on cooking and long in length and good looking. For several years the Pakistani rice has been in great demand in Iran but due to hurdles created by the dollar regime, the Iranian buyers were unable to remit the value. The Unisame chief said although there are no sanctions on food and medicine yet the international agency for money transactions blocked all remittances from Iran and caused tremendous setback to Iran and Pakistani basmati rice exporters to Iran.
He said Pakistan tried for currency swap agreement with Iran but it is believed that Pakistan was restrained to enter any such agreement. However Unisame expects the ministry of commerce will take up the matter with the ministry of finance and make the necessary arrangements forthwith.