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 (LoC).
According to a local media report that cited sources in the Ministry of Commerce, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood may take a decision on whether to import cotton and yarn from India next week.
The report claimed that the issue of cotton shortfall had been brought to the notice of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan whereas a formal summary will be presented before the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet after a principled decision is taken in this regard. “In-house deliberations have already begun but the final decision would be taken only after seeking the premier’s approval.”
The arrival of seed-cotton into ginneries plunged 35pc to 5.57 million bales as of January 31, 2021, the lowest level witnessed in Pakistan’s history in the last two decades.
Given the situation, this year’s cotton imports may touch the highest levels seen in the country’s recent past, putting an extra burden on current account position. Cotton production was recorded at 8.487 million bales in the same period of last year.
Of the total production, textile mills bought 5.046 million bales while 70,200 bales were picked up by exporters. Currently, only 90 ginning mills are functioning in the country.
Cotton outputs in the country have plunged historic lows mainly due to poor seeds and lack of technology and innovations, threatening the livelihoods of growers and textile sector’s viability.
Pakistan had severed trade ties with India after New Delhi unilaterally annexed Jammu and Kashmir by ending its special status granted under Article 370 of Indian constitution. The trade ties between both the countries can help minimise cost of production and ensure sustained food supplies.