Gov­ern­ment to sup­port leather sec­tor

Enterprise - - 14 -

The of­fi­cials of the Min­istry of Com­merce (MoC) and Trade De­vel­op­ment Author­ity of Pak­istan (TDAP) and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Pak­istan Tan­ners As­so­ci­a­tion (PTA) met to re­solve the is­sues of leather ex­porters. Tariq Iqbal Puri, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, TDAP, as­sured full sup­port for fa­cil­i­tat­ing the de­vel­op­ment and ex­port of the leather sec­tor, es­pe­cially to stop smug­gling and mis-dec­la­ra­tion in ex­port of wet blue leather. He said the FBR would be ap­proached to check such ex­ports by un­scrupu­lous el­e­ments.

Puri briefed the par­tic­i­pants about the role of Min­istry of Com­merce and that TDAP would pro­tect the in­ter­ests of the leather sec­tor. He also di­rected the con­cerned Division of the TDAP to take ur­gent ac­tion on mea­sures sug­gested by the PTA for con­trol­ling the mis-dec­la­ra­tion and smug­gling of pickle and wet blue. Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, TDAP and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of PTA would also visit ex­porters and brief them on the is­sue.

The TDAP Chief Ex­ec­u­tive as­sured the PTA that all sub­si­dies of PTA mem­bers in con­nec­tion with exhibitions will be re­leased within one month and those re­lated to out­stand­ing claims on lab test and ef­flu­ent treat­ment plant will be re­leased once PTA mem­bers sub­mit com­plete doc­u­ments and funds are re­leased by the Min­istry of Fi­nance.

TDAP and PTA would de­vise a strat­egy to check the ex­port of raw/wet­blue leather and MoC/TDAP would con­sider it manda­tory for mem­bers of PTA for ex­port­ing leather skins to en­sure that only gen­uine ex­porters are ben­e­fited.

The MoC would sup­port the PTA for com­plete ban of ex­port of live an­i­mals so that raw ma­te­rial should be made avail­able for the lo­cal in­dus­try and also for the much needed value ad­di­tion re­quired in the leather sec­tor.

Ac­cord­ing to Agha Said­dain, for­mer Chair­man, PTA, Pak­istan was still lead­ing in qual­ity of fin­ished leather and some of the ar­ti­cles are even bet­ter than Ital­ian prod­ucts which en­joy num­ber one po­si­tion at the global level.

Hail­ing the de­ci­sion be­ing taken by the MoC and TDAP, he said most of the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WTO) sig­na­tory coun­tries have ei­ther im­posed very heavy duty on ex­port of wet­blue while some have im­posed com­plete ban on ex­port of this prod­uct. In In­dia there is 60 per­cent ex­port duty on wet­blue while the Pak­istan leather in­dus­try, the sec­ond high­est for­eign earn­ing sec­tor is fac­ing acute short­age of wet­blue, the ba­sic raw ma­te­rial for the tan­ning in­dus­try, he added.

Ex­port of raw skins, pick­led and wet­blue leather may be tem­po­rar­ily banned un­der Ar­ti­cle XI of Gen­eral Agree­ment on Tar­iffs and Trade (GATT). Said­dain said fin­ished leather was not only caus­ing loss to the gov­ern­ment through duty eva­sion but ex­porters were claim­ing ex­port re­bate on such con­sign­ments. Ex­port of Full Con­tainer Load (FCL) of leather may be al­lowed through Karachi, Lahore, Mul­tan and Sialkot only i.e the main cities where the tan­ning in­dus­try is lo­cated.

He added, all FCL ex­ports of any kind of leather should be al­lowed af­ter ob­tain­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion cer­tifi­cate from the PTA, like Rice Ex­port As­so­ci­a­tion of Pak­istan and APTMA. Any leather ship­ment weigh­ing more than 7-8 tonnes should in­vari­ably be re­ferred to PTA for check­ing/ver­i­fi­ca­tion. Pak­istani tan­ners are sec­ond to none at the global level and have the ca­pa­bil­ity to con­vert wet­blue into highly value added prod­ucts.

S. M. Naseem, Chair­man PTA; S.M. Muneer, Chair­man of Din Group; Naseem Shafi and Gulzar Firoz at­tended the meet­ing.

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