KARACHI: The directorate of central health establishment, Islamabad, has instructed the Model Collectorate of Customs (Appraisement) to not to clear import of pre-loved clothing/used shoes and other second-hand items without fumigation in view of coronavirus outbreak in China.
The health establishment further expressed its objection to clearing other consignments.
On Jan 27, 2020, Port Health Establishment had informed Model Collectorate that cargoes (human and animal origin) imported from the affected areas over the past 15 days were not to be cleared without fumigation under the supervision of Port Health Establishment in larger national interest.
Honorary general secretary of the Pakistan Second-Hand Clothing Merchants Association Usman Farooqui said that importers were being asked to pay Rs35,000 in fumigation charges.
The charges should not exceed Rs5,000, he demanded.
He said this virus was mainly in China and goods coming from there might fall under this category.
Used clothing coming from Europe, the US and other countries should be allowed clearance, he added.
He said a meeting of the World Health Organisation held a day earlier “did not declare the virus an international calamity”.
He expressed surprise that all other items had been allowed and only used clothing was covered for fumigation.
Mr Usman said used clothing and articles were meant for poor people who could not afford new branded and costly clothes.
“Imports of these used items have already been on the decline due to various taxes and duties.”
He said with already five per cent customs duty, five per cent sales tax and six per cent income tax, the government had burdened the poor masses by imposing 10 per cent regulatory duty in the budget of 2019-2020, which had pushed up cost of imports.
Pakistan’s worn clothing imports in IHFY20 fell to 190,643 tonnes ($84.5 million) from 232,161 tonnes ($85.5mn) in the same period last fiscal, he added.
Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2020