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KARACHI: Business Community welcomed the decision of Economic Coordination Council (ECC) to allow import of cotton and sugar from India.

National Business Group chairman and president of Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said imports will help the textile industry to overcome shortage while the increasing price of cotton and sugar will be stabilized, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said the move will also help the value-added sector and help almost 100 textile mills start operations that were closed due to the crisis.

He said the decision to import cotton from India was delayed unnecessarily which caused distortion in the market which also damaged employment and the export sector.

Import through land route from India is the most viable option which was being ignored due to political reasons which took toll on the economy and the masses facing unprecedented inflation, he added. He said Pakistan downgraded trade relations with India in August 2019 but it never helped while the decision provided an opportunity to the mafia to milk poor masses stoking poverty and unrest.

Pakistan allowed the import of medicine and some raw materials in May 2020 due to pandemic which restored trade relations to some extent, but it was not enough.

He said Pakistan badly needs Indian cotton and yarn to keep export momentum while the decision to import half a million tonnes of sugar will also help masses confront inflation while discouraging hoarders. Import of fruit, vegetable pulses and other edibles from India should also be allowed to provide some relief to masses reeling under inflation, he demanded.

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) vice president and Pakistan Yarn Merchants Association (PYMA) senior vice chairman Hanif Lakhani, vice chairman Farhan Ashrafi and convener FPCCI’s Central Standing Committee on Yarn Trading stated that PYMA had been urging the government to allow the import of cotton and yarn from India, which is the basic raw materials of the textile industry and after this move, we thank government for giving importance to our demand.

Hanif Lakhani and Farhan Ashrafi also requested Finance Minister Hammad Azhar to play a role in abolishing the additional customs duty and regulatory duty on synthetic yarns, the raw material of the textile industry. In order to remove barriers to exports of textile products, the largest shareholder in the country’s exports, and to reduce production costs. This step will definitely increase the competitiveness of Pakistani exporters in the international markets and increase exports.

Federal B Area Association of Trade and Industry (FBAATI) president Muhammad Ali welcomed government’s decision to import sugar, cotton and yarn from India.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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