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November 21, 2015

Govt urged to curb Iranian cement smuggling

Business

 
November 21, 2015

LAHORE: All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has requested the Commerce Ministry to suspend the import of cement through land routes, and to advise the Iranian government to seek quality approval from Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), before imports could be resumed at statutory duties.
APCMA Chairman Muhammad Ali Tabba, in a letter to Federal Commerce Secretary Muhammad Shehzad Arbab said that despite bringing it to the notice of customs authorities, the Iranian cement smuggling continued into Pakistan through land routes. Moreover, the Iranian cement is of uncertain quality, as it does not have any approval or standard marking by PSQCA.
The quantities are now at an alarmingly high level, reaching about 2,000 tons per day. Coming through the Taftan, Post 250, and Mand customs check-posts, the cement consignments are being allowed in without paying the statutory custom duty and other federal levies. This is being done in connivance with customs authorities, who charge these duties for only a token small quantity while the bulk comes in without paying the statutory charges.
As a result, the letter stated, the local market in the areas adjacent to the Iranian border as well as the coastal area of Baluchistan is flooded with cheap Iranian cement. Consequently, domestically produced cement is fast losing market, as it is unable to compete with this Iranian cement which sells at 40 percent lower price compared to the domestically produced cement.
The cement industry is already in a tough situation due to rise in input cost and Iranian cement’s inroads in Pakistani market are adding to the miseries of local manufacturers.
“The local cement industry, supporting half a million households directly and indirectly must be given protection against the Iranian cement, not only to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of associated workforce but also to save precious foreign exchange,” concluded the APCMA

chairman.