India-Pakistan tensions hit cotton trade
Islamabad: The tensions between India and Pakistan have hit their cotton trade — worth $822 million a year. The Dawn on Monday quoted Pakistan’s Cotton Commissioner Khalid Abdullah as saying that a low quantum of trade was, however, still taking place.
But most Pakistani buyers were not buying cotton from India “as a gesture of national solidarity” in the wake of India-Pakistan animosity, the daily said. Indian exporters too were refusing to sell cotton, it added. Pakistani spinning mills were the biggest buyers of Indian fibre, the Dawn said.
“Fewer imports by Pakistan this year could hurt Indian exports, raise their prices and help rival cotton exporters like Brazil, the US and some African countries.”
“For Pakistan’s industry, buying the raw material from other sources may prove costly owing to long distance freight,” Dawn added.
The suspension in cotton trade comes at a time when Pakistan’s cotton crop has recorded an overall decrease of 15 percent over last year, according to the daily.
Pakistan, the world’s third-largest cotton consumer, starts importing from September but this time there has been little activity so far. But India-Pakistan trade in other commodity goods was not affected, the Dawn said.
“The inward flow of Indian goods into Karachi’s major commodity and grocery markets… continues uninterrupted without any increase in prices or shortage of goods,” it said.
“Shopkeepers selling Indian cosmetics and jewellery are doing business as usual because of their smooth flow and easy availability.”
“Pulses, spices and dried fruits continue to land in Pakistan (from India),” it added.
The bilateral trade balance favours India. In 2015-16, exports from Pakistan to India dropped to $400 million from $415 million in 2014-15.
India’s exports to Pakistan surged 27 per cent to $1.8 billion over the same period.