Classification of machines

9 October 2002

With reference to your August issue, the item on import duties on machinery under the heading Pakistan, import duties on tanning machines in Pakistan is a matter of concern for the tanners and this has been reflected in the Pakistan Tanners Association release quoted in your August issue. There are only three local manufacturers and they claim to produce all machines of all sizes which is not correct. They even claim they have installed these machines in tanneries as described in their communique to the government of Pakistan. No proper survey has been carried out. The difference in the price for their machine, for example, a sammying machine is that they charge US$3,500 whereas a sophisticated machine costs more than US$50,000. The real difference between the two machines is that those of Pakistani origin don't have felts and they are very light in weight and the power gives very little pressure. Referring to spraying machines, the rate of duty is 20%. This needs clarifying. According to the harmonised coding system, finishing lines such as spraying machines are classifiable under the heading 8453.1000 but Pakistan Customs claim they are 8424.89 and charge 20%. Through your good offices I would like to invite the attention of machinery manufacturers, different governments, customs authorities and different organisations around the world as well as your readers to highlight whether spray plants meant for finishing of leather (consisting of spray booth, drying tunnel, automatic pigment economiser, cooling towers) are correctly classified under heading 8453.1000 or 8424.89. This is a major dispute between the importers of machines in Pakistan and the government. If this matter is settled, the rate of duty will automatically come down. The matter was also referred by myself to the Brussels World Customs Organisation. Despite the fact that they do classify the machine under the heading 8453.1000, the government of Pakistan has not issued the relevant order and this is creating great hardship for importers and will affect future sales of the machinery manufacturers in Pakistan. The quality of the leather will also deteriorate since hand spraying cannot achieve the necessary international standards. Sh.Aftab Ahmed Riaz Traders, Karachi

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