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Archive for February, 1987

Many miles to go!

Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif addressed the nation on TV and radio on Feb 23, 1997. The speech was short on rhetoric and long in substance, it laid the groundwork for a comprehensive plan to take Pakistan into the 21st century. Investor confidence is an abstract quality built up on public perception, what the PM said was universally well received by the anxious masses of this country. Unlike our “born-to-rule” ex-PM, Benazir Bhutto, whose main focus in life presently is to rant and rave about horses not being able to drink milk (not true!), the people of Pakistan had the good horse-sense (pun intended) to give an overwhelming mandate to Mian Sahib.

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The last Mango

(This is the TWELFTH and CONCLUDING part of a series of weekly articles which has attempted to explore the advantages/disadvantages of Barter/Countertrade as opposed to the liberal policy in vogue in Pakistan).

About 2 years ago, on May 16, 1985, the present democratic government took a decision which was both progressive and dynamic, through the National Economic Council (NEC), to use Countertrade as a new instrument for aggressively exporting Pakistani products and commodities.

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Pakistan and Bangladesh – An Economic Crossroads

Mr. Ghani Jafar, who is a Research Analyst at the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad, has given an excellent analysis of “BANGLADESH IN TRANSITION” in the NATION over the past week. After cutting out the normal rhetoric of political schisms, some salient points emerge:-

a. Universal goodwill towards Pakistan in Bangladesh which provides for a strong basis for structure of tremendous cooperation between the two countries.

b. Pakistan must extend moral and material assistance to Bangladesh to tide over its present economic difficulties, without strings attached.

c. Bangladeshis are a sensitive people, so the “strongly entrenched lobby in Pakistan, which is thriving on propagation of such distortions” as a “desire for a re-union” must be kept in check, because “our slightest irresponsibility can rock the boat of a durable relationship” (italics are direct quote from Mr. Ghani Jafar).

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Countertrade Red Stars and Mangoes

(This is the ELEVENTH part of a series of weekly articles which will attempt to explore the advantages/disadvantages of Barter/Countertrade as opposed to the liberal policy in vogue in Pakistan).

The Chinese view of Countertrade (CT) should be an important example for our Economic Planners. Here is an example of a socialist economy working its way out of the straitjacket of state enforced ideological constraints. One of the fundamental premises of foreign trade in any such economy is barter — and free trade is seen as an unwarranted liberalisation. China is now drawing hard cash bargains but it is interesting to note that they perceive CT coupled with leasing, as a major vehicle for import financing. This process is being directly supported by the restrictions on foreign exchange.

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