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KARACHI: Timber importers and traders have demanded immediate suspension of import conditions on wood and timber under HS Code 44.01 to 44.09 in IPO 2022 vide SRO 545(I)/ 2022 till 30th June 2023.

The import conditions in Imports Policy Order (IPO) 2022 have created delicate and technical issue for the entire wood and timber trade falling under H.S Codes: 44.01 to 44.09, introduced through SRO 545(I) 2022. Previously, the federal government suspended the SRO 545(I) up to August 2022.

Addressing a press conference here at Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Wednesday, Chairman All Pakistan Timber Traders Association (APTTA) Sharjil Goplani and Chairman Pakistan Furniture Exports Association Rana Waheed highlighted the issues being faced by traders related to wood and timber due to SRO545 (I), and said that these conditions will increase and skyrocket their landed cost, and the timber community will be penalized with heavy detention and demurrage, a big contributor to inflation.

They informed that Pakistan imports wood from the USA, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Malaysia, Finland, and other countries. These countries are developed nations and environmentally responsible. They said the current regime wants to damage the wood trade which may hurt our export and bilateral trade relationships with wood-exporting countries.

Sharjil Goplani said that it is necessary to suspend the SRO to save the wood industry; otherwise, shortage of wood will be created in the country and result in very high landed cost.

He said that in the absence of forest reserves in Pakistan and due to heavy deforestation, wood is being imported from different countries to cater the local demand. Due to the lack of forest resources available in Pakistan, the country is suffering badly because of climate change, and the recent floods are an example, he added.

He mentioned that a large number of industries are relying on wood and one of the very important industries is construction industry, which create opportunities or other 45 to 50 industries and will have the impact on overall economic situation of the country.

He urged the federal government to suspend import conditions on wood and timber in tariff classes 44.01 to 44.09 for all the “Bills of Lading” issued until June 30, 2023, so that the industry doesn’t collapse and come back to track and industries start their business and economic activities for the well being of our country.

Timer traders have appealed to the Prime Minister, Minister for Commerce and Federal Secretaries for immediate action on this request so that crisis may be avoided.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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