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Govt urged to put marble products in FTA with China

Daily Times, Pakistan

Govt urged to put marble products in FTA with China

By Razi Syed

23 July 2011

KARACHI: All Pakistan Marble Mining Processing Industry and Exporters Association (APMMPIEA) demanded the government make semi-processed/un-finished tiles, slabs, some marble and granite and onyx products, part of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China.

This will be helpful for industrial development and will provide an opportunity to earn more foreign exchange for Pakistan.

BMG Chairman APMMPIEA said since value addition was not being done therefore exporters were losing substantial foreign exchange.

“We have identified that duty and tax structure on imports of these goods which are considerably higher than raw materials—and is not influencing Chinese customers to buy finished goods.” He said marble sector of Pakistan is passing through a growing phase and industry has been constantly showing growth despite many problems.

“China has lately emerged as one of our biggest buyers of material but their purchases are only limited to raw material (squared marble, granite and onyx blocks), which is not helping our industry,” Khan added.

He said Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) could encourage delegation visit to explore possibilities in China and marble sector and invite Chinese delegation with intent to establish Joint Ventures of Alliances (JVA).

“Semi and finished marble exports in July-June 2011 stood at $60.62 million as compared to $35.18 million in same period last year,” Khan added.

He said investors from China were also showing great interest and wanted to start joint ventures with the Pakistani counterparts.

“It is due to fine quality of stone available in the country and expertise in making finish products”, he said.

Besides investors from Italy and European countries including UK, Saudi Arabia and Korea were still showing interest in the marble sector.

He said mining and quarry sector contribute nearly 0.6 percent to Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) with an estimated value addition of more than Rs 16.5 billion.

“Due to power and gas load shedding and shortage of raw material, which stands at 10,000 tonnes daily, the sector is facing difficulties to honour export commitments on time,” said Khan.

If the current power situation persists, he said, it will be difficult for the sector to meet $100 million export target in 2012.

Around 200 quarries remained closed for the last two years in Balochistan province owing to feud among different clans.

“The Ministry of Industries and Production and Mineral Department of Balochistan are not showing any interest towards the vital issue of the mining industry in the country,” he maintained.

He said Balochistan Mineral Department was also facing a net loss of Rs 600,000 per day in the form of not getting quarry lease fee for the last two years.