The Ministry of Commerce will support rice exporters and remove the obstacles faced by them, but at the same time the traders should try to tap potential markets like Iraq to increase exports of the country, said Federal Commerce Secretary Munir Qureshi.
Speaking at an Iftar reception organised by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) on Friday evening, Qureshi praised associations of businessmen and traders for playing an important role in strengthening different sectors and ensuring their progress. However, he said he would take appropriate steps to abolish the condition for the rice exporter to be a member of REAP.
Qureshi also pointed out that he would look into the issue of barter trade with Iran, which could be a big market for Pakistani rice. But he agreed that there were some complications in currency exchange with Iran due to US sanctions on Tehran.
He said Iraq was a big market for Pakistani rice, but the exporters should trace those elements which were bringing bad name to the country by selling adulterated or substandard rice. “Such people damage the whole sector for the sake of some extra profit.”
Regarding geographical identification (GI) laws, the issue raised by the REAP chairman in his welcome speech, the secretary said he would look into it next week. He advised the rice exporters to sit with basmati growers to resolve the issue of trademark in an amicable way.
Inviting the rice exporters to Islamabad for deliberations, Qureshi said they should guide the ministry how to tackle different issues like what type of foreign seed should be allowed for sowing.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2012.