KARACHI: The apex trade body called for immediate policy interventions and resolution of anomalies pertaining to tea imports on Wednesday, urging the government to consider tea as a necessity and basic food item.
“Given the socioeconomic structure and labor-class dynamics, most of the tea is consumed with plain staple foods like Roti or Paratha by construction workers, factory labour, daily wagers, and other lowest of the lowest strata of the society,” Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) president Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said.
He emphasised that tea should be considered a necessity and a basic food. “As per current practices at the import stage, tea is treated as a luxury item,” he added.
Sheikh said tea traders were suffering due to various anomalies and weaknesses in policies and regulations.
“Tea is taken as a finished product at the import stage. It’s rather a raw material that is then processed, blended, packaged, and marketed.”
FPCCI chief called for facilitative and enabling environment for tea traders to keep the prices low and stable.
He was of the view that the government should not set the maximum retail price (MRP) at import stage or customs basis for the unblended tea, and MRP should only be set for tea bags or final packaged product at the import stage.
“Setting MRP at import stage for unblended tea makes no economic, commercial or regulatory sense.”
Sheikh reiterated that the government should facilitate tea traders to keep the prices of tea at the lowest possible level, while ensuring a good quality and availability.
Zeeshan Paracha, Chairman of Pakistan Tea Association, led a delegation
of tea traders to FPCCI
and called upon its president.
He apprised the consultative session with FPCCI that the tea traders of the country propose a free trade agreement with Kenya in that regard to streamline the tea trade
in a broader national interest.
Aman Paracha, Chairman Customs Committee of Pakistan Tea Association, highlighted the issues being faced by rest of the tea trade players in the country.
He resented “misuse of exemptions and quotas of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas.”
He demanded that misuse of the exemptions should be eliminated and consignments under that arrangement should have tracking in place.
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