Pakistan lifts ban on import of cotton, sugar from India

March 31, 2021 | Updated 5:48 pm

Pakistan lifts ban on import of cotton, sugar from India Cotton Plants Representational Photo - (Photo Credit: Pexels)

New Delhi: Pakistani Cabinet Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) officially approved resumption of Indo-Pak trade on Wednesday. The Imran Khan-led Pakistan government will once again start importing cotton from India till June 30, 2021.

Furthermore, the ECC of the Pakistan Federal Cabinet has also allowed the Pakistani private sector to import sugar from India.

The ECC meeting was presided over by the newly appointed Pakistan Finance Minister Hammad Azhar, which had 21 other items on its agenda. Earlier, the Commerce and Textile ministries had submitted five critical summaries for approval besides others. Pakistan plans to procure cotton after production in the country dropped below six million bales, its lowest level in the last 30 years.

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However, India is yet to release an official response on this matter as so far Delhi has shown passive interest to Pakistan’s overtures. The Imran Khan-led government had snapped their trade ties with India in August 2019 after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the Centre divided the erstwhile state into two different Union Territories.

Furthermore, another summary of the Commerce Ministry is also awaited for an approval which will permit the import of white sugar from India. At present, Pakistan allows yarn, cotton, and sugar imports from all other countries except India.

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The Pak Prime Minister, who is also the in-charge of the Commerce and Textile Ministry, had also given the go-ahead to the summary placed before the ECC. The low yield of cotton bales in Pakistan has been causing a lot of problems to cotton industry in the country.

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In anothor sign of thawing ties between the two countries, Imran Khan previously replied to PM Narendra Modi’s greetings on Pakistan Day on March 29 with a letter. In the letter, he had urged for the creation of an “enabling environment” between the India and Pakistan to resolve their outstanding issues.

Khan said, “people of Pakistan also desire peaceful, cooperative relations with all neighbours, including India” and “we are convinced that durable peace and stability in South Asia is contingent upon resolving all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, in particular the Jammu & Kashmir dispute”.

Earlier in February, Pakistan’s Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had also asked India “to bury the past and move forward”.