Indian imports cheaper but nation first: Pak traders

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Karchi– Indian imports are cheaper and timely but alternatives to them can be found, representatives of Pakistan’s industry and trade community said, backing the government’s decision to stop bilateral trade with India as part of the measures taken to protest the removal of special status for Jammu and Kashmir, reports said.

Dyes and chemicals for the textile mills, and tea for blending are the key imports but could be sourced from China and elsewhere, industry representatives said, Dawn.com reported.

Site Association of Industry (SAI) Chairman Saleem Parekh told Dawn that mills could face problems as they had booked Indian dyes and chemicals consignments two to three months back while many shipments were on their way.

Parekh, a former chairman of All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association, also said that Indian goods are 30-35 per cent cheaper than Chinese and Korean brands while the arrival time is also much shorter and freight charges are also low.

He said that textile mills would now need to shift towards Chinese and Korean brands. “This would take some time (but) for the sake of country, we are ready to face any kind of challenge,” he said.

Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association Chairman Jawed Bilwani said the textile sector, which is dependent on Indian dyes and chemicals, may not feel any immediate set back as they have stock materials for at least three months.

FB Area Association of Trade and Industry (FBATI) Chairman Khursheed Ahmed said the textile sector would seek to import dyes and chemicals from China and Far East.

Pakistan Chemical Dyes and Merchants Association’ former President Haroon Agar, meanwhile, noted that the shift to Chinese dyes would not prove costly as prices of Chinese dyes and chemicals have dropped by 30-40 per cent in the wake of the US trade measures.

As far as tea is concerned, the stake-holders are not worried.

“The share of India in total tea imports is 5 per cent which we can manage by shifting towards tea from Vietnam and some African brands,” Pakistan Tea Association Chairman Shoaib Paracha said.

Agar, who had also headed the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that Indian goods like artificial jewellery, cosmetics, soaps and so on were also present in the local market, where they reach by “informal channels”.

Some trade bodies have announced complete boycott on sale of Indian goods. They had also announced such measures in the wake of the Pulwama attack but Indian items continued to be available.

All Karachi Tajir Itehad Chairman Atiq Mir said the association is trying to convince its members to remove both legal and smuggled Indian goods from their shops and strictly enforce the government’s decision regarding ban on trade with India.

All City Tajir Itehad Association General Secretary Mohammad Ahmed Shamsi said traders are now more serious about discontinuing sales of Indian goods in the country’s interest. (IANS)

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