Import restriction withdrawal to revive Pakistan’s economy: Business Community

By Mariam Raheem | Gwadar Pro Jan 2, 2023

LAHORE, Jan. 2 (Gwadar Pro) - “Obviously many businesses rely on imports, and withdrawing the restrictions placed on imports will benefit both countries but need to be reviewed for lenient approaches for importers, keeping in view the current global economic situation.” highlighted Moazam Ali, President of Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCJCCI) in a recent interview with Gwadar Pro.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Tuesday notified its decision to withdraw the restrictions placed on imports with effect from January 2, 2023 to provide a relief for industries and businesses. Dealers may prioritize or facilitate imports under essential imports, energy imports, imports for export-oriented industries, imports for agricultural inputs, deferred payment/self-funded imports and imports for export-oriented projects nearing completion, the central bank said.

Moazam Ali said Pakistan was facing low foreign exchange reserves but it decided to lift the ban in order to keep pace with world economies and trading bodies like the World Trade Organization. “These measures are necessary for a stabilized approach of imports and encouragement of in-house manufacturing. This step in the future will lead to less imports, self sufficiency of small industries and then towards exports globally,” he added.

“Pakistan needs China’s technological assistance to empower local industries. China can play a major role in this regard by granting budget-friendly and cheap technology resources,” the president underlined. “PCJCCI is working to manage easily available sources for investors of both countries. In this regard, we recently signed an MOU for Alternate Dispute Resolution. It will bring together the legal bodies of the two countries on one platform, providing legal information and solutions under one roof. Such initiatives are a step forward for better trading policies and I am hopeful that our economy will revive out of this situation very soon,” the president said.

Victor Luo, CEO of Sanlian International Company (Pvt) Ltd, which is engaged in China-Pakistan trade business, believes that the withdrawal of the restrictions placed on imports will considerably benefit trade between the two  countries. “It would help maintain the country’s credibility, strengthen foreign confidence, reassure the country’s major factory traders, and solve the problem of a large number of containers stuck in Karachi port for the past six months,” he explained.

He added that the key to the implementation of the policy is whether the administration can address the trade deficit, which is estimated  about $31 billion in fiscal year 2021-2022. According to his observation, demand in the current consumer market remains very strong, but the entire industrial sector has been very affected, with shortages of goods leading to a sharp rise in the prices of industrial products.

“Local manufacturing is a clear direction to reverse Pakistan's economic woes. It is in the interests of both sides for more Chinese labor-intensive manufacturing factories to come to Pakistan to build joint ventures,” Victor concluded.

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