CHANDIGARH: Things between India and Pakistan may be sour, but bilateral trade at Wagah-Attari is throwing truckloads of sweetener into it. After nearly five years, India has imported 500 tonne of sugar from Pakistan to meet its shortage in Punjab.
However, the consignments are yet to reach the state due to the confusion over whether to levy the Integrated Goods and Service Tax at 18 per cent or 5 per cent.
“The consignments have arrived through the Attari border. The order was placed by a few Punjab traders,” said Rajdeep Uppal, president of Confederation of International Chamber of Commerce, Amritsar.
To meet the shortage in Punjab, sugar was being purchased from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana (Yamunanagar and Jagadhri) at Rs 4,100 per quintal. However, as the supply was not enough to meet the demand, it was imported from Pakistan at Rs 3,965 per quintal.
Sources said the bags of sugar from Pakistan have ‘Kashmir Sugar’ stamped on them. Earlier, local traders had boycotted importing sugar from Pakistan saying that the neighbouring country has an active hand in spreading terror in the country, especially in Kashmir Valley. Despite sugar import, the overall trade has come down to Rs 3,000 crore from Rs 6,500 crore at the Attari border as Pakistan is not importing perishable goods.
India has been primarily exporting tomatoes, onions, green chilly and garlic to Pakistan. “From September to February, vegetables are exported to Pakistan as it is the peak season, but this time traders are not getting quarantine clearance,’’ said Uppal.