February 24, 2020: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan has requested the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to come up with some kind of a ‘Special Policy’ to save the importers of various goods and commodities from suffering severe losses due to ban imposed on imports from China because of the outbreak of corona virus, COVID-19.
In a statement issued, Agha Shahab urged the relevant authority to issues notification in which the port authorities and all terminal operators must be advised to refrain from imposing demurrage and detention charges on those consignments which have already arrived at the Pakistani ports from China but were not being cleared. “Any demurrage or detention charges already applied on such consignments must immediately be waived off which would certainly be widely welcomed by the business community”, he added.
He said that many importers, while seeking KCCI’s assistance, informed that their imported consignments from China have been put on hold at the ports in order to prevent the outbreak of deadly corona virus in Pakistan which has terribly affected capital of Hubei province, Wuhan and resulted in hundreds casualties so far besides spreading further in more than 20 countries.
“Many import related documents have also not been received by relevant importers as no parcels were arriving from China and other affected countries, making it impossible for the importers to timely fulfill all the documentation formalities which are required for clearance of imported goods hence their consignments remain blocked at the ports and are resulting in additional demurrage and detention charges”, he said, “We fully understand the sensitivity of the issue and support the government’s moves to save Pakistan from the outbreak of the COVID-19 but the importers should not be penalized and relief has to be provided to the perturbed traders by waiving the demurrage and detention charges.”
He said that out of a total bilateral trade of around US$12 billion between Pakistan and China, around US$6 billion has been transacted so far but the downfall in trade would certainly appear by the end of current fiscal year and US$12 billion mark will not be achieved due to complete suspension of trade between the two countries. “The outbreak of corona virus is an opportunity for the local industry as we have to look into the possibility of what we can produce on our own which was previously being imported from China prior to suspension of trade”, he added.
He stressed that the lethal virus has been rapidly spreading in many countries around the world including some countries bordering Pakistan hence, the government will have to take stringent measures to save our country from the eruption of deadly virus.
He hoped that the relevant departments would realize the gravity of the situation and relief will soon be provided to the importers as soon as possible by urging the port authorities not to demand any demurrage and detention charges from those importers whose goods were arriving from China which would certainly be welcomed.