ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Monday approved duty-free import of cotton.
The ECC took the decision at a meeting held here under the chairmanship of Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Hafeez Shiekh in the chair.
The meeting also allowed cotton import through the Torkham border.
The ECC was informed that Cotton remained duty-free till the slab of zero percent was abolished in 2014-2015 and Custom Duty of 1 percent was imposed along with 5 percent Sales Tax.
Later on, 1 percent slab was increased to 2 percent and then 3 percent along with 2 percent additional customs duty to make it 5 percent.
Since 2017 the duties are withdrawn from January/February and re-imposed in July-August. It was also discussed that by January 01, 2010 the majority of the cotton would be lifted from the farmers.
Therefore, to further protect the farmers, the meeting allowed duty-free import of cotton with effect from January 15, 2020.
The ECC was also briefed that under Rule 28 of the Plant Quarantine Rules of 1967 / Plant Quarantine Act 1976, cotton is only allowed through sea route.
As trade with India is currently suspended by Pakistan, therefore, Afghanistan and the Central Asian states are the more viable economic sources for the import of cotton.
The ECC allowed import of cotton from Torkham Border subject to fulfillment of all sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) conditions.
The ECC also desired that a comprehensive briefing may be given by the Ministry of National food Security and Research on matters pertaining to cotton production for next cotton season.
It may be noted that during first five months of current financial year, i.e. July-November 2019-20, the value-added readymade garments have increased by 35 percent, knitwear by 6 percent and bedwear by 14 percent in quantity terms as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.