Unisame for including rice in barter trade with Iran

KARACHI - The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged Ministry of Commerce (MoC) to make efforts and include rice together with wheat in the proposed barter trade agreement with Iran as Iran buys huge quantity of rice from Pakistan.According to statement, President Unisame Zulfikar Thaver invited the attention of Federal Secretary of Commerce to the fact that Iranian buyers are very fond of Pakistani Super Basmati rice due to its taste, aroma, length and cooking ability and the rice is in great demand in Iran as they eat rice on a daily basis in their most popular dish called the Chillu Kabab which comprises of rice, butter and minced meat.He said only absence of currency swap arrangements, discontinued purchase of Pakistani basmati and other varieties of white and parboiled rice causing setback to rice exporters who were regularly exporting by land and sea to Iran.He said unfortunately due to sanctions, the Iranian importers were unable to effect payments to Pakistani exporters as the swift imposed a bar on transactions with Iran and commercial banks had no choice but to refuse accepting bills drawn on Iranian buyers.It is pertinent to note that the sanctions are not applicable on food and medicines nevertheless the ministry of finance did not take up the matter to resolve or clarify the rejection grounds. On the other hand, other countries continued their supplies of food items and medicines to Iran without any hitch or objection in light of the international law which never forbids supplies of food and medicines on humanitarian grounds, he added.The SME rice exporters have also called upon the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) to make joint efforts for inclusion of rice in the barter agreement with Iran. They urged the REAP chairman, vice chairman and managing committee members to meet the team expected from Iran for the wheat barter trade agreement in exchange for fertilizer and other items and make strong efforts for rice exports under barter to Iran.

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