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Indian newsprint could help Pakistani dailies become cheaper

Amritsar, May 3 - This is one fine print of a high in India-Pakistan ties. A consignment of 10 tonnes of newsprint from India was Thursday sent to Pakistan via the Attari-Wagah land border, and could actually help reduce the price of newspapers there.

The consignment was sent by the Amritsar-based Khanna Paper Mills for Pakistan's leading media houses - the Dawn and Jang groups.

This is the first time ever that Indian newsprint has been sent to Pakistan via the Attari land border, 30 km from here.

"Earlier the newsprint from India used to be sent via Dubai and the freight used to make Pakistani newspapers very expensive. Pakistan does not have newsprint factories of its own and newsprint is imported. We have just sent the first consignment of 10 tonnes," Khanna Paper Mills' director Suneet Kochhar told IANS.

The prices of daily newspapers in Pakistan go up to Rs.25 per copy compared to just Rs.2-3 in India.

"It is for the first time that newsprint has gone via the land border. We expect repeat orders from there soon. It makes business sense to get the newsprint from just 60 km away rather than import it via the sea route," Kochhar said.

Newsprint has been taken out of the negative list of trade between both countries by the Pakistan government recently.

Newsprint industry sources say that the potential for newsprint export to Pakistan could be 2,000-3,000 tonnes annually in the future.

The Attari border saw the Integrated Check Post (ICP) being inaugurated on the Indian side which will enable greater cargo and passenger movement between both countries.

With Pakistan taking out a number of items from the negative list March this year and assuring that India will have the most favoured nation (MFN) status for trade by the end of 2012, trade between both sides through the land border is expected to increase manifold.

Till now, India used to export vegetables, fruits and livestock to Pakistan while importing cement, gypsum, dry fruits and other items.


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