Karachi: One way trade of fruits and vegetables into Pakistan from India and Iran has given a big threat to Pakistani growers and exporters.
Prominent exporter and former Chairman Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Association, Abdul Wahid here Monday said that frequent import of Indian fruits and vegetables into Pakistan’s market is continuing unabated while similar scenario persists when scores of consignments of green produce continue to pouring in from Iran through borders while exports of green produce to both the border countries remains suspended due to slapping of various NTBs (non tariff barriers) by both the countries.
“Pakistan has far better quality citrus and potatoes than any other country in the region and has big surplus for exports worth millions of dollars of these two commodities to India and Iran but our hands are tied up”, decried Wahid. He said whenever we ask our counterparts to open letter of credit for imports of green produce they take the plea that their government has yet to grant them import license for Pakistan.
He said that as many as 150 to 200 trucks carrying various goods and fruits and vegetables especially tomatoes are coming to Pakistan from Wagha Border but instead of taking Pakistani goods they return home empty. “Why the government is making us fool by luring us to provide 1.5 billion people’s market of India and opened our borders to the Indian traders and now granting MFN to India without ensuring that India has yet to lift the NTBs imposed on us”, Wahid added.
He said similarly Iran too is exploiting our market and their traders are exporting several items to Pakistan without hindrances and even repatriating the foreign exchange through “hundis” to Iran while our hands are tied up by the Iranian government on various pretexts. “Iran government is not allowing us to export potatoes or any other commodities despite a big demand of Pakistani produce in Iran”, Wahid said.
He demanded of the government to take serious notice of the situation and either make India and India governments to immediately lift the NTBs imposed on us or slap similar NTBs’ on both the countries to save Pakistan’s growers and exporters from financial collapse.