Pakistan demanded lifting of a ban on the import of cotton from India, but the Pakistani government has so far not taken any decision on the issue, reports Gulf News.

Pakistan’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail told newsmen that the damage caused to the cotton crop due to devastating floods have affected more than 33 million people, inundated a third of the country and caused losses of more than US$ 10 billion.

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has been asking the federal government to allow import of cotton from India. “The government has not taken any decision yet,” he said, without elaborating when such a decision could be taken.

Pakistan suspended trade with India after the latter revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019. But the ban is hurting the crisis-hit country in the wake floods which caused scarcity of commodities and pushed up prices.

The issue of cotton and the demand by the powerful textile lobby is quite different from the import of onions and tomatoes because textile is the backbone country’s exporters which Pakistan has been trying to increase, said Ismail.

Meanwhile, in Bangladesh mills are going to put forward at least seven points at a meeting with the International Cotton Association on September 8, according to sources, seeking changes in the cotton rulebook for ensuring equal treatment for both the cotton buyer and seller. The points include mandating written confirmation for a cotton contract, mediation before arbitration, mandating oral hearing for arbitration, payment of appeal deposit in local currencies and setting up a laboratory in Bangladesh.

Local textile millers said rules of the International Cotton Association – the apex body for cotton buyers and sellers – are currently more favourable for cotton sellers. “If the points are addressed, the rulebook will be balanced,” Mohammad Ali, president of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), said.

After China, Bangladesh is the second largest cotton importer of the world. The country’s textile sector accounts for around 65% of the annual export earnings. The country imports cotton from Africa, India, Eastern Europe and Asia, USA, Australia and Pakistan.

International Cotton Association President Mohammad Ali Khokon said despite being the major cotton buyer of the world, Bangladeshi millers often do not get enough space in the International Cotton Association. According to sources, BTMA will seek at least five Bangladeshi members in the cotton association board.