Pakistan Prohibits all Imports from India, Equates Indian Origin Goods with those of Israel

Rs 17930 cr worth of Goods in Annual Export and Import Trade Affected by Bans between the Two Neighbours in Last five Months

ABS News Service

New Delhi, 10 August, 2019. The Director General (Trade Policy) of Pakistan Ministry of Trade and Commerce Issued an Order on 9 august to prohibit all imports from India into Pakistan on 9 August. With this, all imports including goods in transit have come to a halt. Included in the ban is trade through the open Wagah land route border with Pak. The appendix covering some 118 items in Appendix G of Pakistan Import Policy Order 2016 have been deleted.

The Pak 9 August Order covers ‘Goods of Indian or Israeli origin or imported from India or Israel”. This means that apart from Israeli goods, which were originally banned, India too is placed in the same league as Jewish Israel which is definite No No in Muslim countries.

The order is clear that even exports through third country routes like Dubai are technically prohibited. All Indian origin goods are banned whether from Indian or non Indian ports. Further, even transit goods from neighbouring countries of India like Bangladesh and Nepal are covered in the ban which specifies “all imports from India”.

It may be recalled that following the Phulwama explosive attack, India imposed a stiff duty of 200 percent on all imports from Pakistan by a notification issued on 16 February. This had the effect of cutting imports from Pak to a mere Rs 50 crores in the April to May period of this financial year as compared to Rs 850 crores in the previous year quarter. Supplies of essential items like Rock salt, chemicals, furnace oil, textiles and dry fruit in transit trade form Afghanistan dried up. Now Rs 14,460 crs will fall to zero as Pakistan has imposed the ban through a non tariff barrier.

Arun Goyal, the Director of the Think Tank Academy of Business Studies in the Capital and author of a three volume treatise on import export called upon both India and Pakistan to desist from fighting a war through trade. Self goals by both countries will affect both countries, specially Pakistan which depends upon low cost essential supplies like spices, tea, fuel, petrochemicals and machinery. India too loses access to key supplies like energy supplies from Central Asia. The neighbouring countries of SAARC Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan which are landlocked lose out on trade with the closing up of land and air trade corridors on the India Pak border.

He also said that WTO should intervene as both tariff and import prohibitions violate WTO rules which designed to protect and promote trade. Both government should restore normalcy of the suspensions at the earliest and stop the diversion of trade to competing countries like china and South East Asia which are the beneficiaries of the trade suspensions.