Bed linen exports to European Union halt as EPB suspends issuing licences

FAISALABAD (January 12 2003) : Exports of bed linen items to European Union has come to a halt as Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has suspended issuing export licenses for the shipments made in December last.

According to information obtained by this correspondent here on Saturday no reason for suspension of export licensing has been given by the EPB.

The EPB, Faisalabad, refused to receive the export documents on Thursday on the directions of the headquarters in Karachi, an export manager informed.

Initially licensing was refused for one day only, but later this was extended to Friday. Neither the licensing has been resumed by Saturday nor any reason for suspension is coming forth.

Meanwhile, exporters staff has started agitating that the consignments have already reached destination and fear of demurrage is looming large they said. Almost all the exporters from Faisalabad are at present out of Country attending Heimtextil at Frankfurt Germany, they said.

The suspension of export licensing probably is the result of over shipments and initiation of anti-dumping proceedings started by the European Commission recently against Pakistani cotton type bed linen exports.

The proceedings are still in initial stages and suspension of licensing for this reason seems to be incomprehensible.

Yet another possibility could be discrepancies in data reconciling by the EPB with the import destination Brussels the exporters staff reported.

They said that EPB had installed an elaborate monitoring system at huge expenses but they always lagged behind in reconciliation or giving exact information to forewarn the exporters about over shipment position.

The EPB becomes aware of over shipment only when the export consignments are held up at destination ports and the buyers inform the exporters about the prevailing situation.

Suspension of export licensing for EU is second instance of the failure of EPB monitoring system within the last three months, it was pointed out. Elaborating they said in October 2002 in similar circumstances export consignments of bedding items were held up at US ports and remained blocked till new quota year started in January 2003.

These consignments have only recently been released after incurring huge demurrage charges to the exporters and loss of textile quota to the country as these consignments have been charged to 2003 textile quota of the country, they said.

Now the same situation appears to be repeating in Europe. The irony of the situation is that EPB had allowed over programming to the exporters allowing them free hand to make shipments of bed linen to Europe. If the EPB had properly managed and monitored the shipments such a pass would not have come about, they opined.

The exporters are, however, surprised over the total silence of the EPB in the matter and its failure to take the exporters into confidence in the matter.

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