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October 18,2017

Japanese businesses lament duties

Irfan Siddiqui

Tokyo: Japan’s industry associations dismayed over regulatory duties imposed by Pakistan on imports, saying the decision would cause losses to Japanese businessmen.

“Pakistan’s government should maintain long-term import policies; otherwise it may lose trust of investors,” Pakistan Japan Business Council (PJBC) and Pak-Japan Chamber Of Commerce (PJCC) said in a joint statement. Pakistan imposed five to 80 percent regulatory duties on imports of non-essential products to check blooming trade deficit.

Rana Abid Hussain, president of PJBC said the decision would cause monetary losses to Japanese exporters. Mehar Azeem, president of PJCC said globally governments usually take importers and exporters onboard and reach a duty decision after consultation with them. “But, in Pakistan government issues one day notice before revising up the duty charts, which is unfair,” Azeem added.

Pakistan’s main imports from Japan include autos, machinery, chemical and medical instruments, amounting to $1.69 billion or 3.1 percent of total imports during the last fiscal 2016/17, data from the State Bank of Pakistan showed.

Abid said Japanese government planned to increase sales tax to 10 percent from eight percent, but it didn’t go with its plan due to public pressure. Karachi-based Topline Research, in a report, said there is still confusion about regulatory duty on used automobiles of low engine size.

Around 4,000 imported new automobiles worth $100-200 million and close to 60,000 used cars worth $300-500 million come into Pakistan every year. Japan is the key exporter of used autos to Pakistan. “The decision will not have a major impact on local car assemblers,” the brokerage added. “It may be too early to assess the exact impact of the regulatory duty on Pakistan’s total imports but it is likely to have some meaningful impact.”

Meanwhile, Tao Yamamoto, head of a Japanese construction and financial company expressed interest in investing into construction projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Yamamoto, during a meeting with Pakistan’s Ambassador to Japan Asad Majid Khan, said Pakistan’s economy is growing and several Japanese companies are pondering to participate in CPEC projects, including construction of roads and highways.

Khan said Japanese interest in CPEC is a good sign. He said information technology sector holds an immense investment potential. He advised that Japanese language institutes should be set up in Pakistan.


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