Pakistan has cleared the import of 500,000 short staple cotton bales from India to make up for a shortfall in domestic production of the commodity.
The decision was made during a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) held in Islamabad on Wednesday under the chairmanship of caretaker Prime Minister Mohammedmian Somroo.
The step is significant as imports of short staple cotton are currently not allowed though there is no ban on importing long staple cotton.
Special Secretary Ashfaq Hassan Khan of the finance ministry said Pakistan's cotton mills have the capacity to handle 16 million bales an annum, while the total cotton production in the country is about 12 to 13 million bales.
"We have to import the remaining cotton from other countries ," he told a news briefing late last night.
The ECC decided to allow the import of 500,000 short staple cotton bales via the Wagah land border.
Khan said the Planning Commission's chairman has been asked to review and analyse how much cotton Pakistan's cotton mills require.