WAHGA trade opening can escalate Pak rice export volume to $3B

Lahore: REAP appreciates Government’s timely decision to allow Trade with India. India, being a market of around 1.3 Billion People owes huge potential to market food and agricultural products.

Though REAP vice chairman, Ch. Samee Ullah, criticized Bureaucracy not to involve Stake Holders into the negotiation process as they are well aware of the Strengths, mutual trade posses. “We need to play our Strength out during negotiations: there are odds and evens in trade, we need to gather the best potential possible for our country” said VCREAP.

Pakistan rice export volume can be escalated to $3 Billion from existing worth of about $2 Billion after opening of trade through Wahga. He requested the authorities to take representatives of export-oriented industries on board for evolving an effective and result oriented trade liberalization policy with India that could help achieve desired goal of increasing exports.

The REAP Vice Chairman, in a letter to Secretary Mincom, stated that as Indian agriculture sector is highly subsidized where farmers are provided with free electricity For Tube Wells, Fertilizers and Pesticides are provided at very nominal rates resulting in reduced Costs of Productions.

The bilateral trade with India in rice would knock farmers out of the competition. For that, we recommend that import of rice from India for local consumption with in Pakistan is countervailed by imposing countervailing duty in proportionate to the difference of subsidized inputs available by Indian farmer. As India has discriminately imposed 70% duty on import of Pak rice so we need to cater that segment out,” suggested REAP in its letter. The REAP warned that in case farmers’ interest is not safeguarded, the association will file application with National Tariff Commission as farmers’ benefit is the first priority.

For any imports of Indian rice for re-export purposes, a Duty and Tax Remission for Exports DTRE scheme should be allowed which would help our exporters avoid countervailing and other duties, keeping us price competitive in international markets. The DTRE Scheme would ensure increased export volumes and capacity, helping gain higher foreign exchange of up to $3 billion, He added. The DTRE scheme should only be allowed on imports of Indian Rice for Re-Exports purposes only with Value Addition.

In the letter to ministry commerce, Reap demanded that the trade of Rice should be allowed through Wahga Border on immediate basis. High Quality Indian Basmati Rice is grown just 30KM away from Wahga Lahore, Transporting it from Amritsar through Lahore to Karachi Port is Time and Cost efficient. It is highly opportunistic to import Indian high quality basmati rice from Wahga to Lahore under DTRE and re-export it with value addition through Karachi.

He also recommended the authorities to keep limit of 100kg bag on import of rice from India while the import items allowed must be only whole grain rice Maximum 5% broken and all by-products must be restricted across the borders.

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