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February 22, 2019

Commerce ministry bans short-expiry edible imports


February 22, 2019

KARACHI: The ministry of commerce has further restricted imports to contain widening trade deficit through banning import of short-life edible products.

The commerce ministry made further amendments into the Import Policy Order 2016.

The government banned short-expiry edible products as well as introduced new labeling requirements for import of food items.

According to the amendments notified in the Import Policy Order 2016 in January, edible goods, which have at least 66 percent of the shelf-life since the date of manufacturing, are allowed to be imported. Earlier, edible goods with 50 percent of the shelf-life were allowed to be imported.

“The ingredients and details (e.g. nutritional facts, usage instructions etc.) of the food products shall be printed in Urdu and English languages on the consumer packaging,” the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The logo of the Halal certification body shall be printed on the consumer packaging.”

It further said the ingredients details and Halal logo must not be in the form of a sticker, overprinting, stamp or scratched labeling.

The step would ensure clarity on ingredients of the imported products in Urdu language for benefit of the consumers.

“The shipment shall be accompanied by a Halal Certification Body, accredited with an accrediting body, which is a member of International Halal Accreditation Forum or Standards Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries,” the ministry added.

The government is discouraging imports to keep foreign exchange reserves in the country. It placed regulatory duties on a score of merchandise to contain swelling import bill.

Total imports bill, in July-January period of the current fiscal year, stood at $32.495 billion, marginally down 5.17 percent over the corresponding period a year earlier.

Food import bills shrank 8.29 percent to $3.464 billion in the July-January period. Palm oil imports decreased 8.91 percent to $1.100 billion. Its imports, however, increased 11.07 percent to 1.801 million tons in terms of quantity.

All other food items in this head registered 5.4 percent decrease in imports to $1.389 billion during the first seven months of the current fiscal year.

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