Cement export to India has come to a complete halt following the imposition of 12 per cent duties on its import by the Indian government, industry sources said on Friday. With the final shipment by a leading cement manufacturer on January 6, cement export to India has stopped, as the importers has refused to import cement from Pakistan due to high duties, they added.
The Indian cement importers have also sent requests to Pakistani exporters for the stoppage of already booked cement import orders, seeking not to dispatch the cement consignment till the settlement of duty issue.
"The Indian government has imposed 12 per cent duties on cement import: four per cent import duty and some eight per cent countervailing duty to primarily curb the cement import from Pakistan," they said. Sources said that Indian government implemented the duties immediately, which were applicable on imported cement consignment after January 5, 2008.
"Although, we have dispatched our cement export consignment before the imposition of duties, however our consignment reached after the announcement and Indian authorities imposed 12 per cent duty on the sad consignment," a leading cement exporter said. He said that Indian authorities are charging some Rs 28 per 50-kg bag under the head of various duties on the import of cement from Pakistan.
With the imposition of new duties Pakistani cement has become more costly than the local cement, therefore on the request of importers Pakistani exporters has stopped export process. "With recent duties, Pakistani cement price in the Indian markets has surged by Indian Rs 25-30 per bag to Rs 225-235 from Rs 210-215 per bag. Whereas, the locally produced cement is available at Indian Rs 220-230 per bag", he informed.
They said Indian government for the last one month has been taking measures to curb cement import particularly from Pakistan and after reducing excise duty on the cement manufactured domestically by Indian Rs 8 per bag on December 8, 2008, they have imposed new duties on the import of cement, which is largely imported from Pakistan.
Chairman All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) Major General Rehmat Khan (Retd) confirmed on Friday that cement export to Indian has come to stand still after imposition of the duties. He alleged that Indian authorities have taken the step after the current escalation in tension between the two countries, which would definitely hurt the cement export.
"We are considering the whole situation and would announce our strategy very soon, however at present we are unable to continue cement export to India", he said. He said that cement exporters are already paying some Indian Rs 2 per tonnes BIS fees on the export of cement and at present some 12 Pakistani cement manufacturers were exporting cement to India.