Cement Industry: (APCMA demands imposition of regulatory duty on Iranian cement)

ISLAMABAD: All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has requested the Ministry of Finance to impose regulatory duty on cement imports from Iran to save the local industry.

In a letter to the Secretary Finance Waqar Masood Khan, Chairman APCMA, Mohammad Ali Tabba said that cement imports from Iran have touched alarming levels.

‘Over the last year larger and larger quantities are arriving daily and now the quantities are at an alarmingly high level reaching about 2,000 tons per day,’ stated the letter.

Chairman APCMA added that despite statutory custom duty of 20%, the Iranian cement is selling at the price levels of 40% below the retail price of domestically produced cement, in the Baluchistan market due to connivance of custom officials.

‘As a result the local market in the areas adjacent to the Iranian border as well as the coastal area of Baluchistan are flooded with Iranian cement,’ he added. It is to be noted that cement imports from Iran are coming through the Iran-Pakistan border via land routes and through railway.

Consequently, he added, domestically produced cement is fast losing market as it is unable to compete with this Iranian cement because of the evasion of duties and taxes. Secondly they are also not complaint with PSQCA. The authority must not allow import of cement from Iran unless it is fully complaint with duties and taxes and certification from PSQCA.

‘Pakistan’s cement industry is making huge investments in increasing production to gear up for upcoming China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects,’ said Chairman APCMA, adding that cement is our important export item as well, earning precious foreign exchange of over 0.5 billion dollars annually over the last decade.

He added that this surge in Iranian cement imports is a big threat and would serious affect the domestic industry, while it would also jeopardize the investment in the industry.

‘In order to protect the industry from the onslaught of Iranian cement import, it is prayed that a Regulatory Duty of 20% may be imposed on cement imports as per H.S. Code 2523:2900,’ suggested Chairman APCMA.

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