The Pakistan Cabinet on Thursday rejected the proposal of the country’s Economic Coordination Council (ECC) to lift the nearly two-year-old ban on sugar and cotton imports from India. Pakistan’s Finance Minister Hammad Azhar announced on Wednesday the decision-making apex body, the ECC, to allow the private sector to import 0.5 million tonnes of white sugar as Islamabad tries to keep domestic prices under control.
Azhar had said in a press conference in Islamabad, “If opening trade with a country reduces the burden on the pocket of an ordinary person, then there is nothing wrong in that”. “The price of sugar in our neighboring India is much lower than in Pakistan.”
Pakistan was one of the major buyers of Indian cotton until 2019, when Islamabad banned the import of goods from India after New Delhi revoked the special status of its part of the Kashmir region, which both countries claim.
India is the world’s largest cotton producer and the second largest sugar producer. Exporting to its neighboring countries will reduce surpluses that are weighing in their local markets, while it will help Pakistan reduce rising sugar prices before Ramadan.