Egypt cancels decision to ban cotton import

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-07-17 12:00:00 – Cairo

Egypt’s government to allow cotton imports this year, revoking its last week’s decision to ban cotton imports from abroad to protect Egyptian cotton farmers and avoid damaging the domestic industry on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, a meeting was held to discuss the decision, as the heads of the export councils and the head of FEDCOC had reservations and described the move as catastrophic because of the negative consequences on their contracts and obligations towards the local and external markets. In addition, this decision could lead to fines on factories as a result of failure to meet these obligations.

However, no solutions were reached to end the current crisis faced by Egyptian cotton farmers.

The meeting included the Ministers of Industry and Foreign Trade, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, and Agriculture Salah Helal, heads of export councils, head of Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC), Chairman of the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving Company, and head of the General Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives.

The head of the Farmers Syndicate, Nasser Farid, demanded that Minister of Agriculture Salah Helal reconsider his decision because the textile industry system operates with two types of cotton. Machines at public sector factories operate using long staple cotton, while private sector machines operate with short staple cotton, which is imported from abroad.

In this regard, The Egyptian Foreign Ministry also received a letter from the Greek government expressing its objection to the Egyptian government's decision to ban cotton imports to Egypt, negatively affecting Greek exports to the country. The Greek government noted the decision may lead Greece to take similar action against Egyptian exports to the Greek market.

Egyptian cotton production has been declining for three decades as textile makers shift to cheaper, lower-quality fiber from Asia and fabrics like polyester. Production this season will drop to 340,000 bales, the lowest since at least 1960, according to the US Department of Agriculture. That compares with record output of 2.49 million bales in 1970.

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