Pakistani cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on 22 Nov 2018 allowed import of cotton from Afghanistan and central Asian countries through the land route to meet its shortfall in the key textile industry.
The ECC took the decision in line with a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Commerce and Textile during a meeting presided over by the Finance Minister Asad Umar.
The finance ministry said in a statement, “ECC also directed the relevant ministries to engage with the industry for the establishment of a permanent quarantine facility for cotton import through the land route.”
Pakistan is a net cotton importer with the textile industry consuming 12 to 15 million bales per year. The country imports cotton from various sources. Afghanistan and central Asian states are producers and exporters of cotton and they have a reasonable share in Pakistan’s import mix as imports from these countries are cheap due to land route compared to the United States and other destinations.
Pakistani cotton is of short to medium staple length and therefore extra-long staple cotton has to be imported for production of finer yarn counts.
The commerce ministry said, “The cotton is a sensitive crop and attracts a variety of pests. For the majority of cotton, Afghanistan is only a transit route and for that purpose pest scouting of central Asian states would also be required otherwise it would be the great threat of new pests harming domestic cotton.”