A large quantity of cotton imported from India has held up with the border terminal at the Wagha, as Pakistani Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir has delayed permission to import over 0.5 million cotton bales from India due to which it has hit the textile industryâ€™s viability hard, said the textile industry sources.
The government has restricted import of cotton to 500,000 bales through land route while there is no such limit on the import of cotton through air and sea. The storage charges are piling up fast, having already touched to Rs 5 million and the ministry is not ready to pay heed to repeated requests.
Stocking of large quantity of bales at the Wagha terminal is causing heavy demurrages to the textile millers. Many importers have submitted written applications to waive off the demurrage but they are unable to do so until the ministry allows them, said one official at the Wagha terminal.
Under the Trade Policy 2012-15, the government has allowed import of cotton bales through Wagha border to the extent of 0.5 million bales. There was no hue and cry on the policy until an unprecedented cotton crop failure this year, putting spinning industry into a troublesome situation which started looking for availing all sources of cotton including India through Wagha Customs Port. The limitation of 0.5 million bales through Wagha border has exhausted and the import activity has come to a halt.
However, the Commerce minister has assured of exercising his special discretion of allowing to enhance the limit to 0.2 million bales on one-time basis. The textile millers have urged the Commerce minister to remove the restriction on import of cotton bales through land route at the Wagha border.
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association has requested the ministry for necessary amendment in the trade policy and increase the quantity to one million bales to let the textile industry meet its requirement without delay. It is learnt that the ministry has expressed its inability to enhance the limit until the policy is approved by the Economic Co-ordination Committee.
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