Though many industries and sectors in Pakistan have expressed fear of losing their local markets through open trade with India, the marble exporters here are ready to face the stiff competition with Indian exporters as it will pave the way for exchange of various qualities of marble.
Those types of marble which are not produced here or are produced in less quantity are already coming from India through smuggling, and via Dubai or a third country. Regularised trade with the neighbouring country will earn additional revenue to the national exchequer.
Talking to Profit, Sanaullah Khan former Chairman All Pakistan Marble Mining Processing Industry and Exporters Association (APMMPIEA) said there was plenty of marble being imported from India, many of which are mainly coming through Dubai. Even the marble displayed for visitors at local hotels here was mainly Indian.
As marble products are already coming from the neighbouring country there was no harm to local industry with regards to open trade with India.
There would also be exchange of various kinds of marble between the countries as many valuable products available here have huge demands in India. Islamabad has some of the most valuable stone colours which could be exported to India.
When compared with Pakistan, India is far ahead in the marble sector. However both countries could benefit from the natural resources available in the region if efforts of both sides collaborated. The marble products have huge demands in Europe and Middle East. Best quality marble of Pakistan technical, coupled with expertise of India could develop the base for marble industry. Proximity between Karachi and Mumbai also offers huge potential for trade and investment.
Talking about impacts of liberalised trade with India over the local marble industry, he said that more Indian products would come to Pakistani market. On the other hand the exports of raw marble and some valued stones would also increase, he added. “Lahore will be the center of Indian marble,” he said adding that open trade would also affect the price of the products.
According to sources, the country’s raw material is already being exported to China in large quantity which is re-exported after value addition. China takes the raw material in the mainland, cuts tiles, finishes it and exports it worldwide. Pakistan can export the same marble to India with less transportation costs.
Despite huge imports of raw marble from Pakistan, there was no investment on the part of China in Pakistani marble industry. The government may also think about transfer of technology and expertise in field to strengthen local industry. It is a fact that an honest cross-border free trade was always going to be a win-win situation.
It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan has one of the world’s best marble reserves, but has not been able to utilise the natural resource and has a share of only 0.09 per cent in the world market. However, India is among world’s top seven natural stone exporters with which Pakistan has no collaboration despite a huge potential.
Despite various problems like power shortages and the deteriorating law and order situation in the country, Pakistan has achieved a record high export of marble with an increase of 72.34 per cent during June to July 2010-2011. The country has achieved a record export of $60.620 million as compared to $35.178 million during the corresponding period of fiscal year 2010 with an increase of $25.442 million. Besides the huge export to China the country’s marble and granite is exported to almost 52 countries of world, which include UAE, UK, India, China, Italy, USA and Malaysia.