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REAP DELEGATION IN COLOMBO SEEKS RISE IN EXPORT OF PAKISTANI RICE
12/13/2017

DAILY BUSINESS RECORDER (13/12/2017)

REAP DELEGATION IN COLOMBO SEEKS RISE IN EXPORT OF PAKISTANI RICE

A high-profile trade delegation of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) led by its senior vice chairman Rafique Suleman has reached Sri Lanka for promotion and marketing of Pakistani rice. The delegation comprises of leading rice exporters as well as small and medium level rice exporters. During the visit, this delegation will have meetings with the concerned ministries' officials and the officials of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber of Commerce and with leading rice importers.

On Monday, the delegation had a meeting with Muhammad Rizwan Hameem, chairman, Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE), which is the state body responsible for the procurement of rice from various origins. CWE also issues tenders for the procurement of rice. Rafique Suleman had a discussion with the CWE chairman to explore the possibilities to increase rice imports from Pakistan. During the meeting, Janbaz Khan, Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan and Adnan Lodhi, Commercial Secretary were also present.

Senior Vice Chairman REAP also had a discussion with Sri Lankan Government officials to reduce the heavy import duty imposed on Pakistani long grain rice. He informed that Pakistani rice is very much liked by Sri Lankan people and a good quantity of Pakistani rice has been exported to Sri Lanka for many years. During last fiscal year 2016-17, Pakistan has exported rice valuing US$ 16 million. But since year 2015, a decline is being observed in the export figure.

The main reason for decline is that Sri Lankan government has included long grain rice as a luxury item and imposed a heavy duty on it. Pakistan rice is long grain; however, there are two separate categories of Pakistan's long grain rice. One category is Basmati rice, in which Super Basmati, PK-385, PK-198/D-98 etc are included, he informed.

This variety is premium quality rice and may be added in luxury item but, another category is coarse varieties, which is called non-Basmati rice (Irri-6, Irri-9 etc). These rice varieties are comparatively cheaper than Basmati rice and famous in common people of Sri Lanka and average price of these varieties are between US$325 to US$400, he said.

During the meeting, Rafique Suleman presented REAP's shield to Rizwan Hameem, chairman CWE. He also appreciated the services of officials of Pakistan High Commission in Colombo who are arranging meetings of REAP delegation with Sri Lankan authorities. He was very optimistic that the visit of REAP delegation would bring fruitful results and Pakistani rice would get maximum market share in Sri Lanka.

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