Pakistan lifts ‘undeclared’ ban on Indian cotton imports
Islamabad, Dec 8 (IANS) Pakistan has lifted an “undeclared” ban on imports of ginned cotton from India, pledging to strictly implement all phytosanitary and other conditions governing the fibre’s imports on future shipments coming in via surface or sea.
Earlier, the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research put cotton imports from India on hold through Wagah border checkpost and Karachi port from November 23, saying the shipments did not fulfil phytosanitary conditions.
However, traders at that time claimed that rising border tensions between the two neighbours prompted Islamabad to impose the ban on Indian cotton.
A trader told Dawn that the DPP started issuing permits for importing cotton from India via Wagah.
But the DPP has also made it clear to importers that only the consignments free from cotton seeds will be accepted and allowed into the country, he added.
Last year, Pakistan imported from India ginned cotton worth more than $800 million, which accounted for two-thirds of India’s cotton exports.
Traders are expecting cotton imports from India and elsewhere to surge this year in view of the anticipated shortfall in the domestic crop.
The government expects cotton output to remain close to 10.5 million bales of 170kg each against a reduced industry demand of 14m bales owing to widespread factory closures in Pakistan’s Punjab province because of higher energy prices.