Govt can consider vegetable imports from India: Miftah Hints at duty-free import to make process easier

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Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Monday said that the government could consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India to mitigate the floods fallout.

The finance minister said this while responding to a question during a news conference here.

“We can consider importing vegetables from India,” the minister said. Turkey and Iran could also be other options, he said.

Unprecedented flash floods caused by historic monsoon rains have caused widespread damage affecting more than 33 million people.

Ismail said as the prices of vegetables had risen considerably due to shortage caused by floods, he had devised a plan during a meeting with the commerce and finance secretaries and would take it to the prime minister in a day or two.

He hinted at opening duty-free import as it would make it easier, saying that importing vegetables through the border with India was also under consideration.

“We normally favour farmers earning money and do not want to open imports but because this is an extraordinary situation, trade with India will be opened if need be.”

The government on Tuesday decided not to appoint a trade minister in India after the Foreign Ministry opposed the decision.

Sources privy to the matter said that the decision to appoint a trade minister in India has been stopped after the foreign ministry opposed the decision and it would not be wise to send a trade minister because of the trade suspension.

While despite the suspension of trade with India, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif approved Qamar Zaman’s appointment as Trade Minister in New Delhi.

The Ministry of Commerce had sent a summary of the appointment of trade officers in the previous regime, sources added.

 

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