KARACHI: Pakistani fruit exporters have lost a lucrative market in neighbouring Iran, where at least 30,000 tons of mango were exported previously, as a result of the trade embargo imposed by the United Nations on Tehran.
With the loss of this market, the exporters could not export around $10 million worth of mango during the current season, said Waheed Ahmed, Co-chairman of Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association in a statement on Monday.
Keeping in view the serious implications for Pakistani exports, the association has written a letter to the Ministry of Commerce, asking it to use diplomatic channels to resolve the issue.
Ahmed said though the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had clarified its stance on the UN sanctions, the commercial banks were reluctant to show any flexibility in opening letters of credit and issuing E Form.
Commercial banks were reluctant to issue E Form to exporters because of UN sanctions on Iran, effectively prohibiting export of mango, he said, adding this would lead to a sharp reduction in overall mango exports.
Mango exports have already slowed down as only 40,000 tons could be exported so far to world markets. Besides Iran, “no shipments could be made to other potential markets of Japan and United States so far,” he said.
According to Ahmed, kinnow, another important fruit enjoying a considerable share in the country’s fruit exports, has also faced almost the same fate in Iran where only 6,000 tons were exported this year against average shipments of around 60,000 tons in previous years.
Besides the UN embargo, Iranian restrictions on imports to protect its local products have also hurt exports from Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2012.