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Pakistan permits cotton imports from India

The Pakistan government has permitted cotton imports from India to meet growing demand from key textile industry, however, it placed a tough set of rules for consignments. “Pakistan is likely to start issuing permit for import of cotton from India through the land route in a next few days under new tough conditions that may not fully ease already imposed restrictions on trade,” said an official.

Pakistan, is the world’s fourth largest cotton producing country, is currently short of around four million bales a year to meet the domestic demand of nearly 16 million bales. Officials say, a permit from the Department of Plant Protection of Pakistan’s food ministry is mandatory, under the new phytosanitary conditions, for import of unprocessed cotton, including raw or seed cotton, cotton lint, linters, cotton waste and cotton stuffing from its neighbour.

The National Plant Protection Organisation would inspect and test the consignments as per necessary procedures and further ensure the cotton is free from biosecurity pests. The goods must be clean and free of contaminant seed, soil and plant debris and other bio-security risk material prior to arrival in Pakistan. Naseem Usman, Chairman of Karachi Cotton Brokers Association expects import of around 0.7 million bales from India this year. Usman said textile mills have signed import contracts of 1.8 million bales from countries, including US, Brazil, South Africa and the Middle East.

Textile ministry’s official says, stringent conditions are a must to protect any threat to local cotton crop. Due to flawed cotton ginning process in India, it has been observed that cotton seed are also found in the imported consignments. “This seed may contain diseases and carry eggs of various insects and pests. So, it is important to allow import of cotton after going through all phytosanitary requirements. Despite this Usman argued Indian cotton is good in quality, while it would be convenient for them to buy from India, as delivery time is short and price is feasible.