Pakistan may allow cotton import from India via land route
Pakistan may allow cotton import from India through land route as prospects of gradual restoration of bilateral trade ties have brightened after the new ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control, according to a media report on Sunday.
Citing sources in the ministry of commerce, The Express Tribune reported that adviser to the Prime Minister on commerce Abdul Razak Dawood may next week take a decision on whether to import cotton and yarn from India.
They said the issue of cotton shortfall had already been brought to the notice of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who also holds the commerce portfolio.
Once a principled decision is taken, a formal order will be presented before the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet, the sources told the daily.
The sources said that in-house deliberations had already begun but the final decision would be taken only after seeking the approval of the Prime Minister.
“I cannot say yes or no at this stage and would be in a better position to respond on Monday,” Dawood told the newspaper, responding to a question on whether Pakistan was considering allowing cotton import from India.
The newspaper reported that against the annual estimated consumption of a minimum of 12 million bales, the ministry of national food security and research expects the production of only 7.7 million bales this year.
However, cotton ginners have given the lowest production estimates of only 5.5 million bales for this year.
There is a minimum shortfall of six million bales and Pakistan has so far imported roughly 688,305 metric tonnes of cotton and yarn, costing $1.1 billion, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. There is still a gap of about 3.5 million bales that needs to be filled through imports.
Due to the shortage of cotton and yarn, the users were compelled to import them from the US, Brazil and Uzbekistan. Imports from India would be far cheaper and would reach Pakistan within three to four days.
Importing yarn from other countries was not only expensive but would also take one to two months to reach Pakistan, the daily reported, quoting businessmen who deal in these commodities.
The delay in yarn import can pose risks to the timely delivery the export orders, according to the newspaper.
However, the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) is exerting pressure on the government not to allow cotton and yarn import from India.