The Nation, Pakistan
Pakistan suspended trade with India due to violation of article 7 of SAFTA, MPs told
By Imran Ali Kundi
25 July 2020
ISLAMABAD-The ministry of commerce on Friday said that India has violated article 7 of SAFTA (Trade Liberalization Programme), therefore, Pakistan has formally suspended imports and exports with India in last year.
The officials of the ministry informed this to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce.
The meeting of the Committee was held under the chairmanship of Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA at Parliament House. The Committee discussed in detail the ban on trade with India especially on dates. The secretary commerce informed the committee that after withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status from Pakistan, India has imposed 200 percent duty on all goods originating in or exported from Pakistan.
Imposition of duty on Pakistan’s commodities by Indian government had affected the export of dates. He further informed that Pakistan exports $107.4 million worth of fresh or dried dates to the world.
The top importing country of dates in the world is India therefore it was the main product effected after India imposed 200 percent duties.
He added that Ministry of Commerce has taken several steps including exploration of new markets to divert its exports in order to minimize the loss incurred as a result of trade suspension between the two countries.
He further added that to counter the impact of 200% duty by India, Pakistan exported dates worth 14.20 million USD in 2019-20 to Nepal, compared to a meager export value of 0.03 million USD in 2018-19, registering an increase of more than 47000%. Pakistan also exported dry dates worth 1.2 million USD in 2019-20 to Singapore and 1.13 million USD to Thailand for the first time in 2019-2020. He said other key exports destinations where dates witness an increasing trend include UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bangladesh, Turkey etc.
He assured the committee that Ministry of Commerce is organizing dates exporters’ delegations to Germany, Australia and Netherlands.
The representatives demanded that government support date growers by providing modern technologies to get a higher yield of dates. They also demanded that government provide them easy loans on low markups.
Chairman Syed Naveed Qamar directed the Ministry of Commerce to explore new markets and engage Trade & Investment Officers for matchmaking efforts for export of dates. He directed the Secretary Commerce to prepare a comprehensive plan with the consultation of all stake holders and present the plan before the committee in 30 days.
The Committee passed “The Marine Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2019” moved by Riaz Fatyana, MNA. However, the Committee deferred “The Safeguard Measures (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on the absence of the mover Muhammad Sanaullah Khan Masti Khal, MNA.
The meeting was attended by Ali Khan Jadoon, MNA, Muhammad Yaqoob Shaikh, MNA, Mian Muhammad Shafiq, MNA, Ms. Sajida Begum, MNA, Ms. Tahira Aurangzeb, MNA, Ms Shaista Pervaiz, MNA, Ms. Shaza Fatima Khawaja, MNA, Dr Nafisa Shah, MNA, and Riaz Fatyana.