ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet on Thursday rejected an Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) suggestion to import cotton yarn and sugar from India, sources said.
The decision to turn down the proposal was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, hours after Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said cabinet will review the ECC’s decisions related to trade with India.
Taking to Twitter, the minister had said it is only after the cabinet’s approval that the decision will be considered “approved by the government”.
“Just for the record — All ECC decisions have to be approved by cabinet & only then they can be seen as ‘approved by govt’! So today in the cabinet there will be a discussion on ECC decisions including trade with India and then the government decision will be taken! The media should be aware of this at least!” Mazari wrote in a tweet.
Yesterday, Federal Finance Minister Hammad Azhar had announced the government’s intention to import sugar and cotton from India.
The decision was seen as an important milestone in the slowly warming ties between the two neighbouring countries.
The minister, in his first press conference since being given the finance portfolio, had spoken about the high prices of sugar in Pakistan, noting that the government had allowed sugar to be imported from other countries, but the price of the commodity in the supplier countries had risen considerably.
“However, in our neighbouring country India, the price of sugar is quite cheap,” he said. “Hence, we have decided to resume sugar trade with India”.
He had said the measure would help bring down sugar prices in Pakistan and provide relief to the poor.
Azhar had said the demand for cotton in Pakistan was also increasing and the country needed the product in a large amount. He said Pakistan had not produced quality cotton last year hence it had given the green signal for the product to be imported from other countries around the globe.
“However, the import of cotton from India was banned and this had a direct effect on our SMEs,” he said.
“At the recommendation of the Ministry of Commerce, we have also decided to resume the trade of cotton with India,” he had said.