Amidst tensions between India and Pakistan, reports say that Pakistan has rejected a consignment of 10,000 bales of cotton worth $3.3 million from India. This was done citing violation of plant quarantine rule by importers. The shipment of ginned cotton, lying at the 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.
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 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 $800 million were imported from India to make up for the shortfall after the failure of the cotton crop.
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, it is said. According to textile industry leaders, cotton imported from countries other than India was cleared by the customs authorities without any issue. Zahid Mazhar, senior vice-chairman, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), was critical of the government policy for not allowing cotton imports from India. He revealed the industry needs around four million bales of imported cotton this year to meet supply shortfalls. The country is expected to produce around 10.05 million bales this year against an estimated demand of 15 million bales.