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Business

December 2, 2016

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Pakistan denies ban on cotton imports

Pakistan denies ban on cotton imports

ISLAMABAD: The government didn’t issue any notification to ban cotton imports from India, a commerce minister said on Thursday. 

“While we restricted import to 500,000 cotton bales through Wagah border there is no such restriction on Karachi port,” Khurram Dastgir Khan, minister for commerce told senate standing committee on textile industry.

Senator Mohsin Aziz, chairman of the committee said a huge quantity of raw cotton had been stopped at the Karachi port. Minister Khan said the bilateral trade relationship has not soured despite diplomatic tension between Pakistan and India.

Aziz said the government should instead ban the value-added products from the neighbouring country in a bid to protect the local textile industry. The meeting was informed that local textile industry was in a dilapidated condition and its exports were on a declining trend due to a number of issues, including high gas and electricity prices, high tariffs on import of input materials, loans restructuring and sick units revival.

Mian Lateef from Chen One group told the committee that forty industries in Khurrianwala industrial estate were closed due to these issues, causing a decrease in exports and layoffs of 400,000 workers.

Lateef said if the government addresses the issue of bank loans restructuring the closed units can restart operation.  The commerce minister said the industrialists should come up with a mechanism to discern willful and genuine loan defaulters.

He said the government is committed to resolve all the genuine issues of the textile industrialists. The meeting decided to hold a meeting in Karachi to resolve the loan issue in which representatives from textile industry, State Bank of Pakistan, National Bank of Pakistan and private banks will be invited.

Minister said the government is planning to allow duty-free imports of all the key inputs, including machinery, used for exports in the next budget. Senator Nehal Hashmi said some industrialists are named in the exit control list (ECL) and they are not even allowed to go abroad to meet with their clients. The committee recommended that the names of these industrialists should be excluded from ECL.

 

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