Published On: Sun, Mar 3rd, 2019
Published in Category: Lahore

200% import duty: Cement exports to India suspended

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Lahore: The exports of cement to India have been suspended, due to enhancement of import duty by 200 percent on all imports from Pakistan following growing tension between Islamabad and Delhi.

The spokeperson of  All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) said in  statement that the cement industry exported 0.58 million tons of cement in Jan 2019 against exports of mere 0.35 million tons during Jan 2018.

The Indian government announced to de-list Pakistan from the status of Most Favorite Nation(MFN), increasing import duties by 200 percent on all imports from Pakistan, including cement, virtually suspending all trade from across border.

More than 350 trucks carrying cement, have been stuck at the Wagah border, after duties were suddenly increased. Similarly, shipments of 800 containers by sea also came to a grinding halt.

According to industry experts, the Indian market accounts for a quarter of Pakistan’s total cement exports. In the last financial year, Pakistan sold around $23 million worth of cement to India.

They said that the industry has started receiving messages from Indian buyers to recall containers. Some exporters have started recalling their shipments.

They said cement exports to India were set to thrive further following the Indian government’s decision of allocating Rs50 billion rehabilitation fund for Kerala which was devastated by floods in 2018. As a result, both price and demand were on the rise after an additional demand in India, they added.

However, in present political tension, Pakistan exports will remain in jeopardy till the next government takes control of India by June this year after the general elections. According to them, Pakistan’s annual cement export to India hovers between $70-80 million.

The exporters said 75 percent of Pakistan’s cement exports to India were done via the Wagah border while the rest by the sea route. Exports to India between July-January of the current fiscal year stood at 648,108 tonnes, while exports in 2017-2018 stood at 1.212m tonnes.

According to experts, the trade balance between the countries is almost $1.36 billion and in India’s favour. This makes the circumstances dismal on India’s end in case of a reciprocation of the response in the form of duty hikes by Pakistan.

Pakistan’s exports to India are worth almost $484m as of FY18 versus imports of about 1.8 billion. The country’s exports to India comprise of raw hides and skins ($21.4m) and other minor groups including cotton, medical equipment and mineral fuels etc.

During first seven months of this fiscal year from July-Jan 2019 period the exports were 4.14 million tons which was 50.47% higher than the 2.77 million tons exported in the corresponding period of last year.

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