Pak textile sector disappointed with govt's u-turn on India cotton imports

Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Pakistan's textile sector is "disappointed" by the government's decision to not allow the import of Indian cotton and has said that buying cotton from the neighbouring country is the need of the hour to avert big loss to textile exports.

Pakistan Apparel Forum chairman Jawed Bilwani on Thursday said the rejection by the country's cabinet of the Economic Coordination Committee's (ECC) proposal would convey a negative message to foreign buyers as the cotton yarn was not available in the country, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.

The textile export sector has been continuously demanding duty-free import of cotton yarn from all over the world, including India, to avert any big loss to textile exports.

Pakistan's federal cabinet on Thursday back-tracked on the Economic Coordination Committee's (ECC) decision to allow the import of sugar, cotton and cotton yarn from India through land and sea routes.

On Wednesday, Pakistan's newly-appointed finance minister Hammad Azhar announced that the government had decided to allow the import of sugar, cotton and yarn from India.

On allowing the import of cotton from India, Azhar had said there was high demand for it because Pakistan's textiles exports had increased but last year's cotton crop was not good. "The price of the commodity in India is lower than what it is in Pakistan. The import of cotton and yarn through the Wagah border will help meet domestic requirements at reasonable rates," Azhar said, adding that import of cotton from India for small industries would take place until June.

According to Geo News, the decision to turn down the proposal was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, hours after Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said the cabinet will review the ECC's decisions related to trade with India.

Bilwani claimed that prices of cotton yarn had increased after the federal cabinet's decision. The government must ensure the availability of cotton yarn in the country if it did not want to allow its import from India, he added.

He feared massive textile exports decline if the import of cotton yarn from the neighbouring country was not allowed.

In the current year, the country faced a 40 per cent plunge in cotton production and if it was compared with 15 million bales in 2014-2015, then the drop was 50 per cent this year, he said.

Bilwani said if the government did not want to permit the import of cotton yarn from India then it must impose a ban on the export of cotton and cotton yarn for at least the next six months.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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