KARACHI: President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, has asked Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to curb illegal trade between Azad Kashmir and Indian Occupied Kashmir.
In a letter sent to the finance minister, the KCCI president stated that some of the firms have complained about misuse of Cross LoC Trade between Azad Kashmir and the Indian Occupied Kashmir which has brought businesses of dry coconut importers on the verge of collapse.
Seeking the finance minister’s intervention to this serious issue, Vohra said that under Cross LoC Trade, barter trade of goods being produced and manufactured in Azad Kashmir and the Indian Occupied Kashmir only was allowed but nowadays, the terms and conditions of Cross-LoC Trade were grossly being violated as dry coconut, which was neither produced in Azad Kashmir nor in Indian Occupied Kashmir, was being bartered.
He pointed out that coconut being cultivated in Kerala was initially being transited to Indian Occupied Kashmir and then bartered with Azad Kashmir which was a clear violation of Cross LoC Trade as dry coconut was not present in the formal barter trade list. Later on, the bartered dry coconut ultimately lands in Rawalpindi which was being sold in various markets of Karachi and other cities across Pakistan, resulting in giving severe losses to legal importers whose business were on the verge of collapse.
Iftikhar Vohra said that misuse of cross LoC Trade was not only affecting the local businesses but also causing grave losses of Rs1 billion per annum which the national exchequer receives from legal importers of dry coconut in shape of various taxes but due to misuse of Cross LoC Trade, the national kitty was likely to get deprived of the substantial contribution being made by the legal importers, he feared.
President KCCI recalled that collective efforts made by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2011-12 resulted in restricting illegal barter of dry coconut and this item was excluded from the barter list but it appears that unscrupulous elements have somehow succeeded in once again illegally bartering dry coconut and they were desperate to destroy the local traders in Pakistan. “There are speculations that dry coconut might be added in the barter list of Cross LoC Trade which is totally unacceptable for the local businessmen and importers”, he added.
He requested the Finance Minister to take steps to put an end to illegal trade of dry coconut under Cross LoC Trade whereas it must also be ensured that dry coconut was not being added at any cost in the barter list of Cross LoC Trade. Furthermore, every possible step should be taken to encourage legal trade in order to secure the businesses of local importers who have been using legal channels only for importing this product and contributing substantially to the national exchequer, he added.