Two weeks after India removed the Most favoured nation (MFN) status of Pakistan and increased customs duty to almost 200% on items being imported from Pakistan, the effects of it are becoming more and more visible at the Attari-Wagha border.
Hundreds of lorries loaded with various items from Pakistan are stranded at the border with Indian traders refusing to letting them in by paying the increased custom duty, and exporters not ready to accept them back.
In addition with custom duty, other duties such as Countervailing Duty and Special Countervailing Duty, has meant that items imported from Pakistan will cost 300% or more than its basic price, making than completely uncompetitive in the Indian market. In such situations, no trader in India is willing to accept the items anymore.
Pakistan, however is yet to make any retaliatory increasement in custom duty on items coming from India. Though, as they never really granted the Most favoured nation status to India, they are free to do so. Here it must be noted that Pakistan’s import from India is much more than India’s import from Pakistan.
Some truck drivers have started offloading their trucks at the border itself with uncertainly looming. Items like granite and gypsum have been offloaded on the sides of the roads, but other items like cement are still kept in trucks as they can’t be stored in open. Most exporters are also not willing to take back the goods, resulting them to be stranded at the border.
Meanwhile Indian traders are planning to move to the Supreme Court to seek permission to accept the items from Pakistan that were purchased before the hike in custom duty was announced. They say that the bill-of-entry for most of the consignments were filed before the hike in duty, that’s why ideally the new duty should not apply on them.