ECC approves withdrawal of duty on cotton import
ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has approved the withdrawal of regulatory, customs duty and additional customs duty on imported cotton.
The decision was taken in a meeting of ECC, held in Islamabad, with 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 0% was abolished in 2014-15 and Custom Duty of 1% was imposed along with 5% Sales Tax. Later on, 1% slab was increased to 2% and then 3% along with 2% additional customs duty to make it 5%.
Since 2017 the duties are withdrawn from January/February and re-imposed in July-August. It was also discussed that by January 1st, 2010 the majority of the cotton would be lifted from the farmers.
Therefore, to further protect the farmers, the ECC of the Cabinet allowed duty-free import of cotton with effect from January 15th, 2020. The ECC of the Cabinet 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%, knitwear by 6% and bedwear by 14% in quantity terms as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.