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One-time permission granted for the discharge of stranded consignments of banned items

ECC suspended conditions on the import of timber/wood till Aug 31

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The government has granted one-time special permission for the discharge of stranded consignments of banned items at ports and airports arrived by June 30, 2022.

Pakistan Customs (FBR) has stepped up enforcement at all International Airports across Pakistan to prevent smuggling of items which have recently been banned by the Federal Government vide SRO No. 598(I)/2022, dated 19.05.2022 by amending Import Policy Order, 2022. This round-the-clock vigilance at International Terminals to prevent smuggling have already resulted in seizures of these items which were being brought in in the garb of bonafide passenger baggage.

Read more: Heavy financial losses as import ban causes congestion at ports

Ministry of Commerce moved the summary for suspending import conditions contained in Import Policy Order, 2022, with regard to import of timber/wood. The commerce ministry said a meeting presided over by the finance minister had already agreed to allow ‘one-time release of such consignments.’

Resultantly, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) suspended conditions on the import of timber/wood till Aug 31 because of the ‘hardship case of timber importers’ as the consignments were supplied against contracts months ago and the shipments had already arrived at ports. Under the decision, the date of implementation of the Import Policy Order (IPO 2022) regarding timber and wood falling under HS Codes 4401 to 4409 will remain suspended till Aug 31 i.e. for the bills of lading issued Aug 31.

In order to safeguard the local industry, the import of raw materials, intermediate goods and industrial equipment required for industrial operations and foreign grant-in-aid projects were exempted.

It was informed in the meeting that IPO 2022 conditions could not be fulfilled because they were supplied against contracts signed months earlier, and related documents could not be delivered because consignments were in the pipeline when the regulations were implemented.

Customs reported that around 224 containers of timber/wood had reached at several ports where importers lacked a valid import permission and plant protection release order, and that since the consignments arrived, the import origin country’s related documentation could not be met.

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