Amidst Indo-Pak tensions, Pakistan has rejected a consignment of 10,000 bales of cotton worth USD 3.3 million from India citing violation of plant quarantine rule by importers.
The shipment of ginned cotton at Karachi Port was imported by seven textile mills. It was rejected by the Plant Quarantine and Certification Services Office, Ministry of National Food Security and Research Department of Plant Protection, Dawn newspaper reported.
The rejection sent shock waves in the textile industry which has been striving for permission to import cotton from India, the report said.
Last year, 2.7 million bales worth USD 800 million were imported from India to make up for the shortfall after cotton crop failure.
The customs deputy collector informed that the consignment was imported in violation of the ‘Pakistan Plant Quarantine Act 1976 and Rules 1967’ and said the consignment would be returned to India at the expense of importers.
The private sector has imported around 1.2 million cotton bales from different countries and orders for 0.3 million bales of Indian cotton have been placed, according to officials.
According to the textile industry leaders the cotton imported from countries other than India was cleared by the customs authorities without any issue, the report said.
Zahid Mazhar, senior vice-chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma), was critical of the government policy of not allowing cotton imports from India.
He said unbridled arrival of cotton yarn from the neighbouring country was causing injury to the domestic spinning industry.
“The industry needs around four million bales of imported cotton this year to meet the supply shortfalls,” he added.
The country is expected to produce around 10.05 million bales this year against an estimated demand of 15m bales.
India is the second largest textile and clothing exporter in the world, contributing around 5 per cent to the global textile and clothing trade, said India Brand Equity Foundation, a trust established by the department of commerce, ministry of commerce and industry.