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March 8, 2021

Govt urged to allow duty-free cotton yarn import from India

National

March 8, 2021

LAHORE: Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Sunday demanded the government to allow duty and taxes free cotton yarn import from India through Wagah border.

Currently the government is considering allowing the import from Afghanistan and Central Asian States via Torkham land route which is insufficient to meet the apparel industry’s raw material needs. With low production, the country needs to import cotton in an effort to bridge the demand-supply gap. Furthermore, Pakistan produces short-to-medium staple cotton whereas long and extra-long staple cotton is imported for manufacturing finer yarn for its subsequent transformation into high value-added textile products. Further, the PRGMEA suggested the government to impose a complete ban on export of cotton yarn up to 30 counts till the sufficient raw material is available to the industry. It will be positive for the apparel industry to convert it into value-added goods, exporting them to the international market instead of raw cotton yarn. The PRGMEA appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking serious notice of cotton shortage and high prices in the country, instructing the commerce ministry to take necessary measures including cross border trade of cotton yarn in order to keep the momentum of value-added exports.

PRGEMA chief coordinator Ijaz Khokhar said the apparel sector was in a fix because of cotton shortage and its high prices in local market, as the cotton rates find no respite from an unabated spike with the industrial input trading at season’s highest rates because its depressed local production continued widening demand and supply gap. “Unavailability of cotton yarn has badly affected the value-added textile industry by putting millions of dollars export orders at stake. Apparel sector is now reluctant to book new orders as it is no more competitive due to record high rates of cotton yarn,” he added.

He said PM’s Adviser on Commerce, Textiles and Investment Razzak Dawood had assured the apparel sector of allowing cotton yarn import from India through Wagah border but now the government is considering permitting imports just from Afghanistan and Central Asian states, which would have no significant impact on cotton shortage. PRGMEA Central Chairman Sohail A. Sheikh said importing yarn from other countries was not only expensive but would also take one to two months to reach Pakistan. “Yarn can be available to us on time from Wagah border and fulfillment of export orders will also be possible on time in this way, he added.

Sohail Sheikh said to promote the export of value-added textile products, the government would have to take important steps to increase production and production of cotton. He said it was a matter of concern that the production of cotton in the country was reduced to only 5.5 million bales. The country’s textile sector consumes around 12 million bales of cotton per annum but production has fallen short of the requirement over the past one and a half decade.

PRGMEA central chairman also applauded the government’s incentives and support to the apparel exporters, who succeeded in enhancing textile exports by more than 8 percent to $8.8 billion in seven months of the current fiscal year which should continue in future. He also pointed out that timely decision of the government to open the industrial sector played a major role in stabilising the economy in addition to keeping the jobs intact of millions of workers. “Again we need to take a timely decision of allowing duty-free import of yarn from land route of Wagah to keep the growth pace intact amidst severe shortage of raw material,” he added.