Expressing serious concern over lower cotton output, the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) recently urged the Pakistani Government to remove duty and taxes on the import of raw cotton to support the domestic textile industry. Initial estimates show there is a shortfall of 5 mn cotton bales between demand and supply during this season.

APTMA Chairman Amanulla Kassim Machiyara told that domestic raw cotton prices are now higher than those of imported cotton and if this continues, then the textile industry will be rendered uncompetitive. The initial cotton crop estimate was around 15 mn bales; later it was revised up to 12 mn bales and now as per second revision, the cotton crop may be 10.2 mn bales.

However, Machiyara said a recent market survey suggests cotton output at the end of this season will be even lower than 10 mn bales as against the domestic industry demand of 15 mn bales. Comparative analysis of cotton arrival up to October 1 this year versus the same day last year shows a 39 per cent decline, report quoted the APTMA Chairman as saying.

He urged the government to immediately withdraw the 3 per cent customs duty, 2 per cent additional duty and 5 per cent sales tax imposed on the import of raw cotton to enable the textile industry to meet its requirements for domestic as well as for export orders.