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Pakistan to import sugar and cotton from India | India News


ISLAMABAD / NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s newly appointed Finance Minister Hammad Azhar announced on Wednesday that the government has decided to allow the importation of sugar, cotton and thread from India.
The resumption of the importation of these items will lead to the partial reactivation of the country’s trade relations with India. In August 2019, Pakistan had downgraded trade relations with India in reaction to New Delhi’s decision to revoke article 370 of its Constitution, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
There was no response from India to the development until late at night. Pakistan’s decision to import from India follows the February ceasefire agreement that had sparked speculation about possible efforts by the two countries to normalize ties. However, even when the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan participated in a multilateral conference in Tajikistan on Tuesday, there was no meeting between the two.
To ensure there would be no shortage of essential medicines amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Pakistan had lifted the ban on importing medicines and raw materials from India in May 2020. This was the first step to reverse the complete suspension of trade with India.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also minister in charge of trade and textiles, had approved India’s import summaries of goods before submitting them to the cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) for approval.
At a press conference in Islamabad after chairing an ECC meeting, the finance minister said that the government had allowed the private sector to import 0.5 million tonnes of sugar from India.
“The price of sugar is much lower in India compared to Pakistan, so we have decided to reopen the sugar trade with the neighboring country for up to 0.5 million tons for the private sector,” said the minister.
By allowing the importation of cotton from India, Azhar said there was a high demand because Pakistan’s textile exports had increased, but last year’s cotton harvest was not good. “The price of raw material in India is lower than in Pakistan. Importing cotton and yarn across the Wagah border will help meet internal requirements at reasonable rates, ”Azhar said, adding that the importation of cotton from India for small industries will take place until June.
India is the world’s largest producer of cotton and the second largest producer of sugar. Importing sugar will help Pakistan lower its high prices before the holy month of Ramadan.

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