ISLAMABAD - Following the federal government’s decision to withdraw ban on imported non-essential and luxury items, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Friday has formally lifted ban on the import of about 33 classes/categories of goods covering more than 860 products/tariff lines.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail presided over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet at Finance Division. Ministry of Commerce presented a summary on prohibition/complete quantitative restrictions on import of non-essential and luxury items. It was submitted that a ban was imposed on import of about 33 classes/categories of goods covering more than 860 products/tariff lines on 19th May, 2022. Owing to serious concerns raised by trading partners on the imposition of ban and considering the fact that the ban has impacted supply chains and domestic retail industry, the ECC decided that ban may be lifted on all the items. Further the ECC recommended release of those held up consignments arrived after 30th June up to 31st July, 2022 with payment of surcharge.

Earlier, on Thursday, addressing a press conference, finance minister announced that the government has also decided withdrawing ban on the import of non-essential commodities to comply the directions of the IMF and under agreement with World Trade Organization (WTO). However, regulatory duties on luxury items would be enhanced three times or to maximum possible level and can go even up to 400 to 600 percent or more to discourage the imports of the luxury items. The heavy duties would be imposed on completely built-up (CBU) commodities — automobiles, mobile phones, and electronic appliances — and apart from them, the imported fish, meat, purse, and other such non-luxury items.

Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) submitted a summary on amendments in LNG policy 2011 for exemption from mandatory Third-Party-Access (TPA) to new LNG Terminals. It was argued that the gap between gas supply and demand in the country is widening resulting in gas load management affecting economic activities. Under the circumstances and to diversify the LNG import infrastructure, there is a need to support and encourage foreign/private investment in the new LNG terminals at their own costs and risks to meet the growing demand of RLNG in the country. Considering the objectives of attracting investment in LNG import terminal facilities, the ECC approved the proposal to exclude new LNG terminals and associated facilities from application of TPA and allowed amendment in article 6.2(a) of LNG policy, 2011.

On a summary submitted by Ministry of National Food Security & Research on allocation of 300,000 MT of wheat for Utility Stores Corporation (USC), the ECC directed Ministry of National Food Security & Research for resubmission of summary after incorporating complete details of incidental charges and comments of Finance Division.

Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, Federal Minister for Industries & production Makhdoom Syed Murtaza Mehmood, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr. Aisha Ghous Pasha, Coordinator to the PM on economy Bilal Azhar Kayani, Coordinator to PM on Commerce & Industry Rana Ihsan Afzal, Chairman FBR, Chairman OGRA, Federal Secretaries and senior officers attended the meeting.