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Pakistan has suspended cotton imports from its top supplier, India, saying shipments failed to fulfil phyto-sanitary certification, threatening the $822 million-a-year trade, government and industry officials told Reuters.

Traders say rising hostility between the neighbours might have prompted Pakistan to restrict imports.

The decision will help other cotton suppliers such as Brazil and the United States to increase exports to Pakistan.

“We had received some complaints regarding insects, pests, in cotton consignments imported from India, so we have sent samples for tests,” Imran Shami, director general of Pakistan's Plant Protection Department (DPP), told Reuters on Wednesday.

“If results show non-compliance of phyto-sanitary requirements, we would have to stop the imports from India.”

Pakistan had put on hold cotton consignments from India, he said, adding that if tests confirmed the presence of pests, “these consignments will go back or would have to be destroyed”, he said.

In 2015-16, Pakistan surpassed Bangladesh to become India's biggest cotton buyer, accounting for 40 per cent of exports.

“Officially there is nothing on the record, but on the ground, there is an unannounced ban on cotton imports from India,” said Ihsan ul Haq, chairman of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Forum.

Indian exporters have signed contracts to export 350,000 bales to Pakistan since the start of the marketing year on Oct1 and out of that nearly 300,000 bales for shipments in December and January could get stuck, three exporters said.

“Out of the contracted quantity, a very small amount has been dispatched so far as the season has just started,” Cotton Association of India President Dhiren Sheth told Reuters.

Supplies from the new season crop usually start rising from November in India.

But this year, supplies are negligible after the Indian government's move to ban high-value currency notes prompted farmers to postpone sales.

“Buyers and sellers are not cancelling contracts. They are waiting for some positive response from the government,” said Chirag Patel, chief executive officer of Indian exporter Jaydeep Cotton Fibers.

The nuclear-armed rivals have seen tension increase in the past few months over Kashmir.

Last year, Pakistan bought 2.7 million bales from India and supported Indian cotton prices at a time when China was cutting imports, traders said.

“It will be big problem for us if Pakistan stops buying. Other countries could not absorb the entire surplus,” said an exporter based in the western state of Gujarat.

Along with Pakistan, India mostly exports cotton to Bangladesh, China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Pakistan, the world's third-largest cotton consumer, has not stopped imports from other countries, said Shami of the DPP.

But importers say buying the fibre from other suppliers like the United States, Brazil and West Africa will prove costlier and time consuming.

“From India, imports come across within 10 days and sometimes within a week consignments used to cross the Wagah border,” said Haq.


Comments (26) Closed



R.S. Menon Nov 30, 2016 05:11pm

Textiles form the major chunk of exports and thus lions share of foreign exchange for Pak. Banning import from India means higher production costs and going to have adverse impact on exports. Pak apna pire me kuladi mar reha hai.

R.S. Menon, Bangalore

Faraz M Nov 30, 2016 05:59pm

very interesting dots....

""Last year, Pakistan bought 2.7 million bales from India and supported Indian cotton prices at a time when China was cutting imports, traders said.

“It will be big problem for us if Pakistan stops buying. Other countries could not absorb the entire surplus,” said an exporter based in the western state of Gujarat.""

waseem Nov 30, 2016 06:00pm

Pakistan's imports are 1.8 billion dollars & exports only 600 million dollars to India. Huge trade deficit for us & it show how restricted & biased Indian market to us. This whole trade need to be stopped.

someone_else Nov 30, 2016 06:08pm

The cotton is not something that would rot. Indian farmers and traders can hold on to the stock. Might even sale it to Bangladesh on lower margins as well which would make Pakistani textile products expensive and out of business.

Saad Nov 30, 2016 06:18pm

Very sad, that politics is hampering our mutual interest.......i believe we should think rationally before stopping cotton imports from our eastern neighbour.....this decision may hurt both

Missy elliot Nov 30, 2016 06:36pm

we don't play cricket, they have expelled our actors, so why the hell are we still trading with Ind?

Mujtaba Nov 30, 2016 06:40pm

@someone_else FYI: cotton rates are determined at international price.India wasn't giving Pak cotton at subsidized rates. Last year when China decreased Indian cotton import surplus cotton was being sold to Indian textile at cheaper rates and Indian Textile mills started labeling the products as "Egyptian Cotton", this was caught by big giants like Walmart and Target etc. Indian companies were fined and all products pulled out of racks... hope it helps

M. Siddique Nov 30, 2016 06:42pm

Modi needs to stop sloganeering behavior and be realist for the betterment of the people of South Asia. War never solves problems but creates them. Peace is the need of the hour.

brr Nov 30, 2016 09:50pm

Dont buy, buy from China, from Saudis. Good luck.

TBH Nov 30, 2016 09:56pm

@someone_else nice point. When cheap imports stop then it impacts production cost especially when it is a raw material like cotton that is indispensable for textile based economy lile Pakistan. India should utilize this opportunity to Increase value added textile industry

Shah Nov 30, 2016 11:14pm

Shame on PML N. Pakistan once exporter of cotton now buying cotton. Thanks to Nawaz Sharif and its policies.

Ishrat Nov 30, 2016 11:24pm

@waseem - How does Pakistan's trade balance compare with China?

Hopeful Nov 30, 2016 11:35pm

India will also face costlier exports specially if their cotton is of poor quality.

Hopeful Nov 30, 2016 11:36pm

@R.S. Menon India will face a bigger problem. Costlier exports and no one to buy inferior cotton.

dr. salaria, aamir Ahmad Nov 30, 2016 11:39pm

Killing and trade can't go together.

Kalim Swat Nov 30, 2016 11:53pm

MENON! When relation are tense why to buy from India.??

Hameed Dec 01, 2016 01:07am

We only buy Indian cotton because its cheaper with transport costs included.

Sourcing from elsewhere will be more costly,India will sell its cotton cheaply to local textile firms, enabling cheaper exports.

Who wins? not us for certain!

Mujahid Dec 01, 2016 01:16am

We must stop trade with India.. Why should we buy substandard products.

AXH Dec 01, 2016 03:26am

@Mujtaba - "Indian cotton import surplus cotton was being sold to Indian textile at cheaper rates and Indian Textile mills started labeling the products as "Egyptian Cotton", this was caught by big giants like Walmart and Target etc. Indian companies were fined and all products pulled out of racks."

Thanks for pointing it out. Pakistani cotton is not the only product the Indian businessmen sell with their labels, Pakistani Basmati rise is another product that is sell by the Indians in the West with their label on it.

Akil Akhtar Dec 01, 2016 04:11am

Stop all imports from india.....

Logic Dec 01, 2016 04:14am

Just like film industry this will destroy pakistani textile industry.

Ammyjd Dec 01, 2016 04:33am

Bangladesh will reap this benefit of cotton if not Pakistan. Indians may even sell them on lesser margin. Ultimately Bangladesh will benefit in terms of finished goods in international market.

Yankee Cricket Fan Dec 01, 2016 04:45am

Hit the Indians where it hurts, in trade. Eye for an eye.

Vijay Dec 01, 2016 06:15am

@waseem Trade restrictions and sanctions never work; ask the Americans how were the trade restrictions on Iran working?

lootra Dec 01, 2016 07:08am

All gimmicks. Let's be honest - Pakistan buys from India because it is cheapest and most affordable due to proximity. Do you think any country including Pakistan would buy from a more expensive supplier if cheaper alternatives were available? The fact is Pakistan's textile exports will become more expensive if they buy more expensive cotton. So lets stop these silly games please. Ultimately we will all be back to the same grind soon.....few years of calm and then few months of hostility. Ultimately we are the same........we cannot see each other progress as we feel that leaves us behind and makes us feel like a failure.

Omar Dec 01, 2016 04:28pm

We should focus on importing higher quality cotton from Brazil and other more trusted suppliers. Quite frankly indian cotton was of poor cheaper quality and resulted in sub-standard products. Furthermore the unreliability of the shipment from an unstable neighbour of india didnt help their product fare any better in Pakistan either. Time to find a more stable reliable and better quality cotton source.