Consignments of dried dates stuck at Attari allowed re-export to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The shipments of Pakistani dried dates lying at Attari check post since February have been finally allowed for re-export to Pakistan by Indian Customs, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday.

Owing to the imposition of 200pc duty on Pakistani products by India on 16th February, the shipments, which had already arrived at Attari, got stuck, as the importers refused to get them cleared at high duties.

“Since 96pc export of dried dates from Pakistan was meant for the Indian market, the duty hike by India created a challenging situation for the exporters of dates. Consequently, it also adversely affected the dates’ farmers,” the commerce ministry said.

It is pertinent to mention that Commerce Secretary Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera had chaired a consultative session with the stakeholders in Karachi before the Eid holidays to devise an action plan for clearance of the shipments held at Attari, offloading of around 150,000 bags of unsold stocks of dried dates from the old crop, marketing strategy for the upcoming crop in July-August, and long-term plan for market and product diversification.

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Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC) was tasked by the ministry to take the lead in these matters.

“After a concerted follow up by the PHDEC and litigation by the affected exporters and Indian importers, the Indian customs’ authorities finally allowed re-export of the consignments to Pakistan,” the commerce ministry said.

For the disposal of the unsold stocks of old crop and marketing for the upcoming season, the PHDEC is organising an 8-10 member delegation of dried dates’ exporters from Sukkur and Khairpur to visit Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal in July.

A detailed long-term strategy for product diversification from dried to fresh dates and market diversification to minimise dependence on the Indian market has been devised and would be implemented during the coming months.

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