In the wake of imposition of 200% duty by India on Pakistani exports including dried dates, PHDEC organized the “Consultative Session on Strategy Formulation for Dates Exports” in Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi on May, 10, 2019.

The session was aimed at taking all stakeholders on board on the current issue and exchange views/opinions and have suggestions for strategy formulation for market and product diversification with special reference to dried dates.

Mr. Muhammad Ashraf, CEO PHDEC presented the synopsis of world dates production and trade, Pakistan’s dates economy, analysis of international dates market, halt of dried export to India after imposition of 200% import duty and other issues faced by the sector in production, post-harvest and value addition.

  • The stakeholders opined on the issue and it was deduced that alternate routes for dried dates export to India (UAE, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan Transit Trade) are the immediate options available. Since, Pakistan is the only major producer of dried dates, its import in India through any other route cannot be camouflaged.
  • Dates importers in India, who were also affected by the move, were not ready to push their Government to sort out the issue, informed Mr. Bashir Arain, President Khajoor Mandi, Khairpur, who recently visited India twice.
  • Containers of dried dates held at Indian side due to duty issue are now being subjected to demurrage and considered for auction, needs to be brought back. , Representative of Customs Department agreed to provide full support in this regard. He further clarified that import of dates through official channel was very limited. The major chunk comes in the form of gifts through post office/courier/personal baggage.
  • Effective tariff on dates (including import duty, regulatory duty, sales tax, advance income tax) comes out to 60%, informed Collector Customs, Lahore. The tariff can be increased further through enhanced regulatory duty and increased import value.
  • To create awareness on hygiene and packaging, the growers/processors be exposed to international practices and in this connection, visits to UAE may be organized.
  • Arranging a trade delegation for market promotion of dried dates in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Middle East etc.
  • Identification of trade fairs for participation by exporters & processors of fresh dates
  • Various suggestions for improvement of production including introduction of new varieties and drip irrigation also came under discussion.

Secretary Commerce, Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera chaired the session. In response to different suggestion, Secretary Commerce added that for establishing processing facilities in the public sector under PPP mode, Ministry of Commerce will convene a meeting of SMEDA, Secretary Industries and Secretary MNFSR. Ministry of Commerce is well aware of the plight of exporters and growers after imposition of 200% duty by India and no stone will be left un-turned to support exporters/growers to come out of these crisis”, he added.