Islamabad: Indian sugar is all set to hit the local market in a big way as two consignments of 12,000 tonnes are reaching Pakistan in next two to three days.
The first consignment of 6,000 tonnes is due in Lahore via Wagah border tomorrow and the second of equal quantity in Karachi before the end of the current week.
Indian sugar influx into Pakistan seems increasing, Pakistan’s Business Recorder newspaper today quoted officials as saying. Pakistani sugar importers are in a race to secure their deals with Indian sugar exporters, it said.
Total volume of the orders booked from India for sugar import can be judged from the first few consignments, which are going to add roughly 50,000 tonnes in the local market by 31 August.
Uninterrupted sugar import from India indicates that 25% duty is not enough to discourage influx of subsidised Indian sugar. The land route via Wagah makes Pakistan’s market an attraction to the Indian exporters, the newspaper said.
India has around 1 million tonnes surplus sugar. Pakistani importers are buying sugar from India at $285 per tonne and its cost at Karachi and Lahore is roughly between Rs25.50 and Rs26 against Rs28 per kg local market rates.
A difference of Rs2 per kg is enough to bait the Pakistani importers. They rushed to Indian businessmen as soon as the sugar prices in the local market crossed a break-even level, the report said.
The newspaper quoted the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association however as criticising the Indian imports saying that the “destruction” of local sugar industry would mean destruction of a whole chain including the growers, a large number of people who earn their living during the crushing season.
They are demanding that the government should take notice of the new situation and revise duty on sugar import from 25% to at least 35% to make sure that local industry get enough space to sell its stocks.
They are also pressing the government for endorsement of Trading Corporation of Pakistan’s (TCP) plan to buy the new stocks from the mills and off-load last year’s buffer stocks, saying it can equally protect interest of all sugar sector stakeholders.