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March 15, 2019

Malaysian CG for reviewing tariff increase on air conditioners


March 15, 2019

KARACHI: Consul General of Malaysia Khairul Nazam Abd Rahman on Thursday asked to review the regulatory duty on import of air conditioners and other such products, calling it a violation of the Pakistan-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement.

Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the Malaysian CG said Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce should come up with a better solution that does not impact Malaysian exporters, instead of increasing tariffs through imposition of regulatory duties.

He said that although Pakistan and Malaysia have signed an FTA, trade momentum was slow, which required special attention and efforts from both sides. “Trade volume improved marginally by just 2.5 percent last year,” he added.

He said this was the right time to connect and work collectively, as new governments have taken charge of the country’s affairs in Pakistan and Malaysia. He also emphasised on regular exchange of trade delegations and participation in trade promotional activities to expand bilateral relations.

Highlighting some of the potential areas, Malaysian CG advised Pakistani exporters to look into the possibility of exporting Basmati, IRRI-6 rice, and mangoes to Malaysia, which were being offered at competitive prices.

The Malaysian business community could also look into the possibility of venturing into various infrastructural projects in Pakistan, particularly the five million houses scheme announced by the government, the CG said.

Earlier, KCCI President Junaid Esmail Makda, who welcomed the Malaysian CG, said Pakistan-Malaysia relations were expected to improve further as the present government wanted to enhance existing relations between the two countries.

Numerous diplomats, including the German CG, had expressed similar concerns on the imposition of RD, Makda said, explaining that the step was taken to discourage unnecessary luxury imports, as

Pakistan could not afford to spend billions of dollars on imports of luxury items. He assured the Malaysian CG that KCCI would discuss this particular issue pertaining to RD on air conditioners with PM’s Advisor Abdul Razzak Dawood and Finance Minister Asad Umer, as Pakistan would not retreat from its commitments made under the FTA with Malaysia.

He urged Malaysian business and industrial community to look into Karachi for its trade, investment, and joint venture opportunities, as the city contributes 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer.

Makda stressed that Pakistan and Malaysia have to find new areas for mutual cooperation and try to further boost trade and economic ties.

“There is huge potential for joint ventures and investment in the areas of Islamic finance, Halal food industries, energy, low-cost housing, infrastructure development, telecommunications and education,” he said, adding that Malaysia was a potential market for Pakistani fruits and vegetables like mangoes, oranges, onions and potatoes.

Referring to Pakistan’s splendid and hard-working human resource, he said there was a great potential for Pakistan to export its skilled, technical and educated human resource to Malaysia.

He informed the Malaysian CG that Pakistan was an open economy with no restrictions where Malaysian firms and contractors could benefit by establishing businesses.

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