LAHORE - The cement exports to Afghanistan decreased to 0.166 million tons during the month of January 2017 from 0.174 million tons of corresponding period, showing a decline of 4.5 percent.

However, exports to India registered a healthy increase from 0.049 million tons in January last year to 0.861 million tons during the same month this year, showing growth of 77 percent. Exports to India are mainly through Wahga border and southern coast of India.

Industry stakeholders expressed concerns over falling exports to Afghanistan that have declined in the first seven months of this fiscal by 10.88 percent. They said cement exports to India have registered an increase of 79.34 percent during July 2016 to January 2017. Export by sea also declined by 19.23 percent during first seven months of current fiscal.

“The factors contributing to decline in exports include increase in fuel prices and other input cost, and the most damaging was the barriers erected by the countries we export to, such as anti-dumping duty imposed by South Africa to protect its local industry,” the experts said.

Moreover, in India in order to discourage imports, the tariff is around 19 percent including 3 percent education cess to promote education in the country, which makes it difficult to compete with their local manufacturers and other exporting countries which have lesser input cost, they added.

They said that cement industry, in order to meet the massive demand taking place in the country due to various Government and CPEC projects, has gone in for an expansion in its capacity by 26.250 million tons per annum. “It will be illogical advice for government to allow import of cement or abolish import duty. On one hand it will deprive the government from revenue earned through import duty and on the other hand it will devastate the whole industry expansion plan,” they added.