LAHORE: A high-level delegation of U.S. cotton industry representatives visited Pakistan on Wednesday and met with members of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) to discuss ways to enhance bilateral trade and cooperation in the area of cotton, a statement said.
The delegation, led by Steve Dyer, president of Cotton Council International (CCI), included officials from Cotton Incorporated, Oritain, Cargill, Carolina Cotton Growers’ Cooperative, and the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Pakistan.
The delegation and the APTMA members attended a seminar at APTMA House Lahore, where they exchanged views on various issues related to cotton production, consumption, sustainability, traceability, and circularity.
Kamran Arshad, senior vice chairman of APTMA, made a detailed presentation and highlighted the importance of the U.S. as Pakistan’s largest trade and investment partner with a total trade of $7.2 billion.
He urged the US to facilitate technology transfer for high-yielding cotton seeds, introduce improved and genetically modified seeds in Pakistan, share information on weather forecast, and provide training and capacity building for agriculture research institutions and farmers.
Arshad also called for synergy with the U.S. Cotton Research Institute and the establishment of joint ventures with Pakistani partners. Hamid Zaman, chairman of APTMA North Zone, emphasized the need for training on labeling cotton bales with regard to trash content, moisture and weight.
He requested the US to offer duty-free access for Pakistani exports that would help reduce poverty, unemployment and encourage new investment. He said the market access facility to Pakistan would not affect the U.S. textile industry.
Adil Bashir, former chairman of APTMA, stressed the need to have a facility of buy-back arrangements against the cotton purchased from the U.S. He also asked for reduction in duties in line with the facilities extended under NAFTA.
Dyer said the visit of the U.S. cotton delegation has become a regular feature over the last few years. He said sustainability , traceability and circularity are being focused in the cotton trade. He also apprised the members on the demand and supply aspect as well as U.S. trust protocols of the cotton crop.
Joshua Biss from Oritain spoke at length about the traceability issue and explained the scientific methodology adopted by the organization in this respect. Chris Rittgers, FAS Counselor Islamabad appreciated APTMA for hosting a very informative and educative session for its members. He expressed the hope that such programmes would continue in the future and assured APTMA of fullest cooperation and assistance from the American Diplomatic Missions in Pakistan for conducting such events.