Ex­pand­ing trade with In­dia

Enterprise - - Trade watch -

Pak­istan has ex­panded trade with In­dia by al­low­ing im­port of seven more items, tak­ing the to­tal tally to over 1,945 goods. The de­ci­sion was taken at a meet­ing of the Eco­nomic Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tee (ECC) of the cabi­net that met un­der the chair­man­ship of Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dr Ab­dul Hafeez Shaikh. ECC had amended the Trade Pol­icy Or­der 2009 to make room for the changes.

The items added to the list were raw ma­te­rial and ma­chin­ery not man­u­fac­tured in In­dia, in­clud­ing tools for tap­ping threads, plant and ma­chin­ery for ex­trac­tion and re­fin­ing of rice, barn oil, lab­o­ra­tory test­ing equip­ment, methylisox­a­zole-sulthamoyl-ac­etamide for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts, air-brake equip­ment and spare parts for lo­co­mo­tives, lab­o­ra­tory glass­ware of all kinds and cot­ton waste.

Im­port of such items would also help re­duce the cost of im­ports as the newly added items im­ported from In­dia would cost less to Pak­istani im­porters — com­pared with im­ports from other coun­tries.

It was re­vealed that af­ter the trade pol­icy con­sul­ta­tion with the pri­vate sec­tor, ap­proval for im­port of 40 items of raw ma­te­ri­als, semi-fin­ished prod­ucts, ma­chin­ery, plants, chem­i­cals and dyes for the tex­tile and leather pro­cess­ing in­dus­tries, was sought but later it was changed to 7 which was granted by the Prime Min­is­ter.

It is worth men­tion­ing here that Pak­istan has linked the free trade or Most Fa­vored Nation (MFN) sta­tus to In­dia with res­o­lu­tion of Kashmir is­sue and im­ports from In­dia are be­ing gov­erned un­der a pos­i­tive list that has now ex­panded to 1945 items. Al­though Pak­istan has signed the South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agree­ment, it has lim­ited its tar­iff re­duc­tion ben­e­fits for In­dia on items in­cluded in the im­portable items list con­tained in Ap­pen­dix-G of the Im­port Pol­icy Or­der 2009 and items no­ti­fied af­ter the is­suance of the Im­port Pol­icy Or­der 2009.

ECC has also ap­proved 15 other amend­ments to the trade pol­icy which in­clude mea­sures to en­hance the com­pet­i­tive­ness of ex­ports, in­crease trade ac­cess to key for­eign mar­kets and re­strict im­ports of sev­eral items.

The main ob­jec­tive of the amend­ments is said to be achiev­ing an in­crease in ex­ports of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts such as grains, fruits, veg­eta­bles and meat as well as value-added tex­tile prod­ucts. The gov­ern­ment also banned com­mer­cial im­port of used edible oil un­der the garb of soap stock. It also banned the im­port of used lubri­cants, hy­draulic and trans­former oils. To curb cig­a­rette man­u­fac­tur­ing by un­reg­is­tered man­u­fac­tur­ers, the im­port of cig­a­rette-mak­ing pa­per will only be al­lowed to the reg­is­tered man­u­fac­tur­ers. Through an­other amend­ment, the gov­ern­ment banned the ex­port of po­plar wood to Afghanistan.

The amend­ments are im­por­tant as the gov­ern­ment is eyeing ex­ports worth $22 bil­lion due to ris­ing prices of com­modi­ties in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket this year. In 2010, ex­ports from Pak­istan suf­fered due to the mas­sive floods that had hit the plains of Pun­jab and Sindh. This year could bring home the es­ti­mated rev­enue if poli­cies re­main sup­port­ive for the ex­porters

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