Indian cement importers meet Pakistan exporters

Indian cement importers meet Pakistan exporters
22 February 2012

An Indian trade delegation of over 120 business people, government officials and members of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) including cement importers visited Pakistan last week to make head way on Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India and further enhance bilateral trade relations between the two countries. The Indian delegation was led by Anand Sharma, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Government of India.

On the sidelines of visits, a group of Indian cement import companies met Pakistan's leading cement manufacturers and exporters in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad to discuss their future requirements and transport-related issues.

According to data of Pakistan's Trade Development Authority (TDAP), Pakistan exported USD$36.5m worth of cement to India in 2009-10 (July-June) and USD$37.6m in 2008-09 – reflecting a fall of 2.9 per cent.

In terms of quantity, Pakistan exported 786,672t cement to India in 2007-08;?634,456t in 2008-09; 722,967t in 2009-10 and 589,506t in 2010-11, data from the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) shows.

Cement exports to India during first seven months of the current fiscal (July 2011-Jan 2012), stood at 402,726t compared to 272,263t in same months of the last fiscal, showing a notable growth of 48 per cent.

Indian cement importers included Kapil Jindal, Director, Mauli Group, Panipat; Vinod Juneja, Managing Director, Braj Binani Group of Industries, Mumbai; Mr. Pardeep Sehgal, Partner, Sinochem Impex, Amritsar and Mr. Harish Kumar Agarwal, Managing Director, Asian Concretes & Cements Pvt Ltd and Aggarwal & Co, Chandigarh.

Mr Sehgal told CemNet News that his company is already importing cement from Pakistan and said:  "We had some meetings with some new potential suppliers and are hopeful of better supplies".

He said they met top officials of Lafarge Pakistan Cement, Askari Cement, Bestway Cement, Fauji Cement Company and other Pakistani cement exporters. He is of the view that Pakistan exports could be enhanced provided the transport/dispatches related issues are resolved. Pakistan cement exporters usually exports cement through rail and has been demanding opening of other routes as well as exports through trucks and sea route.

Pakistan's cement industry has been demanding the removal of non-tariff barriers, more freight trains to India, the opening of the Gujarat port and Wagha Border to transport cement via ship and trucks respectively and the issuance of visas on priority basis.

While addressing a welcome ceremony organised by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), President RV Kanoria of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), said that Pakistan needs to work on the negative list as soon as possible so that Most Favoured Nation status to India can be granted as soon as possible.

Kanoria also welcomed the suggestion by Pakistan business people for conducting trade in rupees between the two countries, rather than in foreign currencies. He hoped that this suggestion would be seriously explored and materialise.

President of Confederation of Indian Industry and Vice Chairman of Tata Steel Ltd, B Muthuraman, in his speech, said that this visit will be a milestone in improving bilateral trade. He said that there are vast opportunities in the fields of telecommunication, infrastructure, refineries, oil and gas, steel, cement and agriculture.

On the conclusion of Indian trade delegation visits, Pakistan and India have considered starting trade through Khokrapar-Munabao route, liberalisation of business visas and allowing banking operations.

Furthermore, Pakistan and India signed three agreements that included Customs Cooperation Agreement, Mutual Recognition Agreement and Redressal of Trade Grievance Agreement. The move will help build confidence in the business community. Implementation of these agreements would also systemically address issues related to non-tariff barriers, a statement said.

Published under Cement News

Tagged Under: India Pakistan Trade