LAHORE  - The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry Wednesday called for post-Covid review of Free Trade Agreements with regional countries including China.

The demand was raised by the LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir after having a meeting with the delegation of Pakistan Plastic Manufacturers Association (PPMA), led by Chairman of Punjab Industrial Estates Development & Management Company (PIEDMC) Syed Nabeel Hashmi at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, Central President of PPMA Haji Ikhlaq Ahmad, Chairman North Zone S.M. Tariq and LCCI Executive Committee Member Fiaz Haider also spoke on the occasion. The delegation members informed the LCCI President that the domestic plastic industry is facing severe difficulties due to unfavorable policies. They said that all sectors, including plastic industry, are in crisis due to Free Trade Agreement with China that must be reviewed.

“Plastic machinery is being imported at zero tariff from China”, they said and added that in the present scenario, how the local manufacturers of plastic machinery can compete. They said that Free Trade Agreements should be reviewed immediately with the consultation of all the associations and trade bodies to protect the local industry. Syed Nabeel Hashmi emphasized the need for the establishment of Plastic Technology Center and training courses to produce skilled human resources for the industry. He also gave a detailed briefing to the LCCI President on the affairs of PIEDMC.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said “no doubt that Pakistan China friendship is higher than mountains, deeper than the ocean, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey but every country always puts its own economic interests first.” He said that the policy makers should evolve policies to protect the domestic industry. Free Trade Agreements should be reviewed which will help industrial expansion and will also generate employment opportunities. While calling for cascading, the LCCI President said that import of machinery, which is being produced locally, should not be duty free. He said that duty on raw materials should be less than the finished goods. He said that raw material should be imported at 3 per cent duty. Mian Nauman Kabir said that the Technology Center should be established to produce skilled human resources for plastic industry. He further stated that undue facilities should not be given to a particular industry as it will hit the other industries hard.

He said that Sundar Industrial Estate should be given transport facilities, subsidized electricity and residential colony. Meanwhile, the delegations of Anjuman Hussania Khawajgan Narowali, led by its President Saeed Mangla, Salt Manufacturers Association of Pakistan and Shahalam Electric Market called on the LCCI office-bearers. The issues being faced by the business community came under discussion. They said that the issues of encroachment, lack of infrastructure in the markets and parking should be resolved immediately.

The LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir informed the delegation that in a recent meeting, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has agreed that there will be no increase in the property tax rates. He said that the new industrial estates are being established in the province. He said that the inflation is the aftershocks of covid-19. He said that US policy is going to be changed for some countries and the business community will have to strategy in this regard.

LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, Vice President Haris Ateeq, Former LCCI Presidents Mian Shafqat Ali, Sohail Lashari, Amjad Ali Jawa, Rizwan Haider, Chaudhry Wajid Ali, Malik Muhammad Khalid, Malik Usman, Kazim Ali Kazim and representatives of markets also spoke on the occasion.