Pakistan has said that it has no plans to allow duty-free import of cotton from India to bridge the shortfall.

The country is currently facing a shortfall of one million bales due to low production this year.

Talking to journalists after the launch of Coca Cola İçecek’s (CCI) socioeconomic report, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood said that people from the industry had been demanding revision in duties and taxes on the textile sector.

However, he ruled out any change in duties on import of cotton from India to bridge the shortfall. He hoped that the country would produce a better cotton crop next year.

Responding to a question, the adviser said that the government would restore the zero-rated regime for the five leading export-focused sectors in the upcoming budget.

Talking about trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian states, he said that Afghanistan had offered a preferential trade agreement (PTA), which was not a problem.

He said that goods of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan to be included in the proposed PTAs were dry fruits and agricultural produce as they had no industrial production.

“There are industrial projects of us like refrigerators, chemicals, motorcycles and several other products that can be exported to these countries.”

He added that the transit trade agreement with Afghanistan had expired, however, the cabinet allowed an extension of three months.

The commerce adviser pointed out that there were three priority areas for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian states.

First, there should be free movement of trucks, second, it should be transit trade and third, there should be PTA.

Regarding free trade agreement (FTA) with China, he said that it came into effect on January 1, 2020 but due to the Covid-19 outbreak there had been no progress on it as delegations of both sides were unable to visit each other.

He said that Pakistan and China would have to wait for one more year to make some progress on it. Earlier, speaking at the launch of the report, Dawood said,

“Pakistan is looking forward to expanding the footprint of foreign companies in the country by drawing up effective policies which will ensure ease of doing business. The goal is to expedite economic activities and facilitate the corporate sector as much as possible so more companies like CCI can establish a strong presence locally.”

He said, “Private sector plays a very important role in strengthening the economy of a country – whether through generation of employment opportunities or their overall contribution to GDP.”