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EU urges Egypt to lift cotton import ban

Jul '12
The European Union has urged the Government of Egypt to lift the ban on cotton imports, temporarily imposed since November last year.
The ban on cotton imports is against the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and hence the Government should consider lifting the ban, the EU said in a statement to the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture.
In response to the EU’s pressure on Egyptian Government to lift the ban on cotton imports, the Ministries of Agriculture and Trade are likely to hold an emergency meeting to review the cotton position in the country and take a decision on whether to lift the ban on cotton imports.
Besides the EU, domestic textile manufacturers are also demanding that the Government should remove the ban on cotton imports.
When the ban was imposed last year through a joint decision of the Ministries of Agriculture and Trade, it was specified that the ban would prevail until all locally produced cotton was sold.
However, cotton produced this year in Egypt is yet to be fully sold and cotton traders have around 1.36 million kantars (1 kantar = 45.02 kg) of cotton unsold with them, according to Abdel Aziz Amer, the Internal Vice President of the Egyptian Cotton Trading Organisation (ECTO).
Mr. Amer said the 1.36 million kantars of Egyptian cotton will remain unsold if the Government lifts the ban on imports, in view of the refusal of domestic textile manufacturers to use Egyptian cotton.
As per the data with the Cotton Trade Commission, Egypt produced 3.6 million kantars of cotton during the 2011-12 season. There was also a previous season’s carryover stock of 300,000 kantars, thus taking the total available cotton in the country for the current season to 3.9 million kantars.
Out of this, about 2.54 million kantars of cotton has been sold, leaving 1.36 million kantars unsold. Of the cotton sold, 995,857 kantars of cotton was purchased by domestic textile producers, and the rest was exported.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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