LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for immediate consultation over a proposal to impose additional regulatory duty on 250 goods to ensure business-friendly decisions.
In a statement on Friday, LCCI President Malik Tahir Javed, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rasheed and Vice President Zeeshan Khalil said the LCCI understood that unnecessary imports were widening the country’s trade deficit, but extensive consultation between public and private sectors was a must to bring clarity to the issue.
They agreed that imports of unnecessary and lavish goods must be discouraged to get rid of the historically high trade deficit that widened to $6.29 billion in the first two months of the current fiscal year compared with $4.711 billion in the same period of previous year.
However at the same time, it must be ensured that imports of necessary raw material and machinery were not curbed. “A one-sided decision will fail to give desired results,” they said.
News reports suggest that around 250 goods have been selected on which additional regulatory duty will be imposed which include used cars, tyres, mobile phones, electronic goods, readymade garments and ceramic tiles.
Though efforts to control the huge trade deficit were a good sign, it would be better to draw a sketch for boosting exports that were not up to the mark because of various reasons, the LCCI office-bearers suggested.
They asked the government to contribute to the national economy through trade facilitation and liberalisation, improved export competitiveness and reduced cost of doing business.
They emphasised that the Ministry of Commerce should provide direction and diversify internal trade for enhancing the supply chain for the country’s exports.
“New trade avenues and markets should be explored in different regions to secure market access for Pakistani products. The trade policy should target (both) international and domestic trade,” they said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2017.