Exports to Pak via rail stuck
The strained India-Pakistan relations post-Pulwama attack has affected the exports of goods such as chemicals, dyes, agricultural machinery and yarn from India to Pakistan through Amritsar rail route. According to railway officials, around 42 wagons loaded with goods are stranded at Amritsar railway goods shed since February 21.
One train wagon carries 60 metric tonnes of load. “Initially, we had 36 wagons loaded with chemicals, dyes, yarns, seeds and agricultural machinery for export to Pakistan. Out of these, 19 wagons were exported to Pakistan on February 21. Currently, 42 wagons laden with different commodities are awaiting nod to be exported to Pakistan,” said a railway official handling the exports, requesting anonymity. “We don’t know when it will be exported to Pakistan,” he said.
India exports chemicals, crude drugs, spices, dyes and agriculture machinery to Pakistan through rail route. Exporters from across Punjab and other states export these commodities to Pakistan though rail cargo. From Pakistan, leather products, iron parts, electrical goods, threads and cement are imported. However, ever since the Centre withdrew the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to Pakistan, no goods train has arrived from Pakistan, the railway official said.
On February 15, India had withdrawn MFN status to Pakistan after the Pulwama attack. After this, customs duty on all goods exported from Pakistan to India was also raised to 200% with immediate effect. The move is likely to hit Pakistan’s exports to India, which were $381 million in the April-November period as compared to $489 million in the whole FY18. Indo-Pak trade takes place through two routes — Attari-Wagah land route (road and rail) and the Mumbai-Karachi sea route. Besides this, barter trade is also carried out through J&K from two locations.
“We don’t know when our straw reapers (agriculture machinery) will be exported to Pakistan. We have an order book of around 400 machines and as per the agreement we have to supply the machines by March this year,” said Jagatjit Singh, managing director, Saron Mechanical Works (Punjab). The export of agricultural machinery through road route is not allowed.
The imposed tariff of 200% is higher than India’s average rate which is 113.5% for agricultural products and 34.6% for non-farm goods. The MFN-applied rates are 32.8% and 10.7%, respectively, for farm and non-farm products.
According to exporters, the trade of agricultural machinery between the two countries has a huge potential. India exports agricultural machines such as combine harvester, straw reaper and thresher.
The Rail Cargo complex at Amritsar railway station is a rail link between India and Pakistan for import and export of goods. It came into existence in 1951.
Source :- Tribuneindia.com