LAHORE: Consumers in Pakistan face customs duty rates nearly four times more than the global average, which makes goods more expensive, according to a new study by UHY, an international accounting and consultancy network.
The study found that customs duties in Pakistan average seven percent of the total value of imported goods, whereas the global average in this regard is 1.8 percent of the total value of. This means that Pakistani consumers pay relatively higher prices for the goods than the consumers in many other parts of the world –including many developed economies.
UHY studied customs duties levied by 22 economies around the world as a percentage of the total value of their imports, as a simple indicator of the impact of a country’s trade barriers. The report points out that since 2006, Pakistan has been a member of South Asian Free Treaty Area (SAFTA) which also includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Maldives.
Ibne Hassan, a member of UHY affiliated firm in Pakistan, said that customs duties can be a burden on the consumers and can often make everyday items more expensive. He said motivation to adopt a protectionist stance to protect jobs and nurture jobs can be very compelling. However, there is often a price to pay through higher costs of goods.
This tends to be particularly a huge burden on the budgets of low income consumers. Such policies could end up having an impact even on those industries that the governments are trying to protect, potentially effecting efforts to stimulate competitiveness or drive innovation.