LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Wednesday welcomed the suspension of regulatory duty on over 400 imported items by the Lahore High Court and urged the government to withdraw duty on imports until and unless genuine reservations of stakeholders are addressed.

LCCI Acting President Khawaja Khawar Rasheed and Vice President Zeeshan Khalil in their joint statement appreciated the Lahore High Court for listening to the business community’s point of view and taking a prompt action against regulatory duty which was imposed without taking stakeholders into confidence.

They urged government to withdraw regulatory duty regime and convene a meeting of stakeholders to get their feedback so that necessary imports of raw material and other goods is not affected. While elaborating their point, the LCCI office-bearers said since various imported raw materials are being used in the local industries for manufacturing and exporting of goods therefore regulatory duty on these important inputs would add to the miseries of export-oriented industries. Resultantly, they said, exports would continue to decline.

They said that the business community is already suffering because of undue delay in payments of refunds and high cost of doing business and cannot afford to bear heavy burden of regulatory duty that is imposed without keeping in view the ground realities.

The LCCI office-bearers said that principally regulatory duty is imposed on such products where local industry needs protection. The LCCI understands that protection of local industry is important for any state as it provides employment opportunities and contributes sizeable amount of revenue to national exchequer. But the business community fails to understand that why regulatory duty is imposed on import of raw materials and other goods which are either not locally manufactured or produced in very small quantity as compared to their imports. The Lahore High Court has given a biggest relief to the business community by suspending SRO regarding regulatory duty, they said.