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The challenge is still on for the ceramic tile industry of Pakistan because of the continued increase in energy proves, the Import Trade Price or ITP is extremely low for imported tiles coming from China and other countries, the tax rates are higher than before and the amount of smuggle tiles coming from Iran has also spiked. It is safe to say that the local manufacturers of interior stone tiles are not happy about these developments.
International producers of ceramic and porcelain tiles are benefiting from the very low values of Import Trade Price and the fact that the country is not strict when it comes to smuggling regulations. Because of these, foreign manufacturers supply more than 40 per cent of the tile market which is equivalent to almost 80 million square meters. Domestic producers, on the other hand, are suffering because the production costs in the country are higher and the competition is not fair considering that the imported tile products are much cheaper.
Nearly 60 per cent of the tile market is located near or around Punjab. The remaining tile sales are coming from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. More the28 per cent of the market is already covered by imported tile manufacturers coming from China. Producers from European nations and other foreign countries only cover a very small fraction of the entire market which is estimated to be lower than one per cent.
Over 13 per cent of the market, however, is getting their supply from Iran which smuggles ceramic tiles into Pakistan. The remaining market is covered by local manufacturers including Forte, Master, Swat, Karam and Sonex. These companies have 50,000 employers and between 80 and 85 per cent of them are unskilled.
The industry is now calling to the government to help the manufacturers of interior stone tiles by decreasing energy costs and preventing foreign products from importing their products whether legally or illegally into Pakistan. Experts believed that the industry, if well supported and regulated, can grow significantly which will result to more employment opportunities for the locals as well as contribute to the country’s export and GDP.