The government should reduce high import tariffs on industrial raw material and machinery as it has increased the cost of inputs for industry including export-oriented industries and affected industrial competitiveness due to which productivity and exports were suffering.
This was stated by President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) Muhammad Ahmed Waheed, Senior Vice President Tahir Abbasi and Vice President Saif ur Rahman Khan, in a joint statement issued here on Saturday.
They said that domestic industry was facing import tariffs ranging from 3% to 20% on the import of industrial raw material and machinery due to which it was difficult for industrial sector to upgrade machinery & technology, which was necessary for producing value added products and compete more effectively in the international market.
The ICCI office bearers said the experience of many developing countries showed that tariff rationalization and trade liberalization accelerated the pace of their economic development while high import tariffs have adversely affected the growth of economy. They said that during the last decade, fastest export-growth economies have brought significant reduction in import tariffs, in some cases by 50 percent to 70 percent. However, in Pakistan, the trend has been the opposite as the import tariffs and regulatory duties have been increased manifold.
Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said that Pakistan’s export growth since 2001 has been in commensurate with tariff liberalization. He said that the applied weighted mean tariff in Pakistan was reduced from over 20% in 2001 to around 9% in 2014, due to which exports during the same period increased from US$ 9.2 billion to around US$ 25 billion showing an increase of over 170 percent. However, since 2014, the tariff liberalization has been reversed by gradual increase in the applied tariff resultantly the exports have been declining.
The ICCI President said that import tariffs in Pakistan constituted 13% of the total tax revenues as compared to 1.6% in Malaysia, 2% in Turkey, 2.5% in Indonesia, 3.9% in South Korea, 4.3% in Thailand and 4.6% in China. He urged that government should bring down import tariffs and regulatory duties on industrial raw material and machinery that would enable the domestic industry to upgrade itself, produce value added products and boost exports leading to fast economic revival.—INP