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Cotton imports from Wagha intimidate domestic industry

Feb '07
On recent request by spinners to import cotton from India, experts are concerned about its negative effects on economy.

Experts are of the opinion that cost of the Indian cotton imported from sea route is still cheaper compared to imports from other countries.

As per the estimates, India's cotton consumption is increasing at 20 percent per annum and its textile exports would reach US $50 billion by 2010 from current $17 billion.

So domestic consumption of India would naturally increase and exporters would fail to export cotton to other countries.

They said heavy investment in construction of infrastructure to import cotton from Wagha border will be in vain.

According to experts, spinners should concentrate on importing cotton from Central Asia States and Australia as they do not have spinning industry.

Moreover, imports from Wagha border would marginalize cotton farmers in region of South Punjab and Sindh that produces most of the cotton in the country.

They requested Government to pay attention towards conversion of cotton growing area into that of sugarcane.

Experts stressed on the increase in investment for enhancement of domestic production rather than creating facilitations for imports of these commodities.

Government should take serious steps for the inclusion of Bt cotton that can increase yield per acre significantly, experts added.

At present, cotton imports from India are restricted to two to three hundred thousand bales per annum. The loss to spinners on these imports is only Rs900 compared to higher rate on larger imports from Asia and US.

In 2006, cotton imports from India reached 200,000 bales, ten percent of total imports.

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