ISLAMABAD: The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) has sought permission to negotiate with a delegation of Indonesian organisation Bulog, which is expected to arrive next week, for the export of Pakistani rice.
The delegation of Bulog – the state logistics agency – is coming to hold negotiations with authorities in Pakistan for the import of rice.
Earlier this year, Pakistan signed an agreement with Indonesia for the sale of one million tons of rice estimated at around $400 million over four years. The export will be made through the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) rather than the private sector including the rice exporting association – REAP.
Following the MoU, REAP came up with the argument that since it was the duty of private sector to export, the government must not get involved in the business, rather, it should facilitate and support the private sector.
Talking to The Express Tribune, REAP former chairman Rafiq Suleman said the delegation of Bulog was coming and the government should ensure that the private sector was authorised to execute the rice export agreement so that shipments could be smoothly carried out.
He said it would be more appropriate to leave business and trade matters to the private sector, which could proceed in a better way and provide quality services.
He also pointed out that REAP had got no assistance under the Export Development Fund for holding exhibitions and sending delegations to different countries for the promotion of rice exports.
Suleman argued that REAP was against the involvement of any government body in trade matters as it could not do business due to compromises on quality and standards.
He was of the view that if the government jumped into business, it would create long-term problems. “Following visits of REAP delegations to various countries including Iran, there was a good response from international markets,” he said.
The TCP finalised the first tender of 15,000 tons of rice for export to Indonesia, which included 5,000 tons of basmati rice and 10,000 tons of non-basmati rice.
Pakistan was the first country outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to have a rice export agreement with Indonesia.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2016.