KARACHI: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) on Tuesday urged the government to withdraw 11 per cent duties and taxes on cotton imports.

Addressing a press conference, Aptma chairman Dr Amandullah Kassim Machiyara said the textile industry would collapse if the government does not withdraw duties and taxes on cotton imports.

“It is now clear that cotton crop would be short and industry’s demand will have to be met through imports. Imposing duty and taxes on raw material (cotton) would only result in damaging exports,” Dr Machiyara added.

The Aptma chairman regretted that the government has initially fixed cotton production at very high level of 15 million bales which was ‘impossible to achieve’.

The Cotton Crop Assessment Com­mittee (CCAC) twice revised cotton production figures – first to 12m bales and later to 10.2m bales. According to unofficial estimates, the production would not be more than 9m bales.

Since the textile industry would importing around 5m bales to meet the shortfall, the removal of 3pc customs duty, 2pc additional customs duty, 5pc sales tax and 1pc income tax has become necessary, he said.

In the past, textile industry used to import cotton from India with nominal cost of freight due to close proximity, he recalled. “Now cotton imports will be from far off countries like United States, Brazil, etc which will lead to higher freight costs, thereby burdening the industry,” he lamented.

Responding to a question, he said, import of 5m bales would cost the country up to $1.5 billion therefore measure should be taken that such failures do not take place in future.

The Aptma chairman said it was the responsibility of the government department to evolve and develop new varieties of cotton seeds which should be of high yield and also pest resistance.

Published in Dawn, October 9th, 2019