ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet will take up on Wednesday two summaries of the commerce and textile ministry to lift ban on import of cotton, cotton yarn and white sugar from India, Dawn has learned from official sources.
There are 21 items on the agenda of the ECC meeting to be chaired by the newly appointed Finance Minister Hammad Azhar. Commerce and Textile divisions have submitted five crucial summaries for approval besides others.
At the agenda no. 16, the Textile Division summary sought permission from the ECC to lift ban on import of cotton and cotton yarn from India in a bid to bridge raw material shortfall for the value-added textile sector.
In addition to this, another summary of the commerce ministry at agenda no. 20 also sought permission to allow import of white sugar from India through the Trading Corporation of Pakistan and commercial importers.
The resumption of import of these goods will lead to partial revival of trade relations. On Aug 9, 2019 Pakistan downgraded trade relations with India in reaction to the latter’s decision to revoke Article 370 of its Constitution that granted occupied Kashmir a special status.
In May 2020, Pakistan lifted the ban on import of medicines and raw material from India to ensure there is no shortage of essential drugs amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This was the first step of reversing of complete suspension of trade with India.
Currently, cotton, yarn and sugar imports are allowed from all countries except India.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also Minister-in-Charge of Commerce and Textile, has already approved the summaries to be placed before the ECC for approval. It means that prime minister is already in support of the lifting of ban on these products imports from India.
The commerce and textile ministry also submitted a summary on the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2020-25, which envisages over Rs1 trillion support for the textile and clothing sector.
The ECC approval was also sought to register pink rock salt as a geographical indication by Pakistan. There are also summaries regarding approval of technical supplementary grants for various divisions -- federal education, housing, petroleum, atomic energy commission, national food security, privatization, law and justice, industries, power and aviation.
Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2021