Steel manufacturers show serious concern over MFN status to India


Local steel manufacturers showed concern over giving status of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) to India, saying it would pose threats to the steel industry of the country. Our country has weak infrastructure and industrial units are suffering due to dismal situation of power and fuel. Government should shield local steel industry before giving such a status to its economically strong neighbour. These remarks were made by local steel manufactures during a meeting with Atizaz A Niazi, Chairman Engineering Development Board (EDB) at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).
Speaking on the occasion, Yassar Sakhi Butt, President ICCI said government should adopt a go-slow policy as far as trade liberalisation with India is concerned. He said steel industry would definitely suffer which is one of the fastest growing industries in Pakistan. The industry is already facing many challenges due to the deplorable economic conditions. President ICCI was of the view that government should import iron ore and other scrape material, specialised machinery and equipment, including testing equipment from India rather than allowing import of intermediate and final steel products, as under MFN scenario it would significantly affect our local steel industry. Yassar Sakhi Butt said India should also give market access to Pakistan for its quality products. He demanded the Indian government to remove Non-Tariff Barriers to give easy access to Pakistani products in Indian market. The industrialist said there should be no further reduction in proposed sensitive list as any further reduction would be detrimental to the local industry. They said granting MFN status and opening up of the steel finished goods market for India would cause irreparable damage to domestic steel industry. Atizaz A Niazi assured EDB would highlight the problems of business community at all the relevant forums and informed the meeting that EDB was in the process of making recommendations regarding tariff rationalisation which would be forwarded to Federal Board of Revenue before March 10, 2012.