Import Licensing and Import Liberalization in Pakistan

Philip S. Thomas


Import policy has played a particularly important role in
Pakistan's economic planning. The amount and allocation of imported
machinery and raw materials have directly affected the nature and pace
of both industrial and agricultural development. The composition of
imports has had a very significant effect on internal relative prices,
which, in turn, essentially determine the allocation of investment in
the private sector. Finally, imports have provided both the government
(in the form of tariffs) and the private sector (in the form of profits)
access to potential savings, which to a large extent have been converted
into investment during the last decade. While import policy should not
be viewed completely in isolation, it is sufficiently important to merit
careful and intensive study. Over the past several years, substantial
research has been carried out on two aspects of Pakistan's import
policy: the description and analysis of the institu¬tional arrangements;
and the development of reasonably accurate statistics. In terms of
institutional arrangements, three contributions are especially worthy of
mention. Naqvi [22] has presented a detailed description of the import
licensing system, indicating the agencies involved and the major
problems faced by them,

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