The Economic Coordination Committee of Pakistan's Cabinet last week approved the import of 0.5m 170kg bales of short staple raw cotton from India through Wagha border.

Previously only long staple raw cotton was allowed for import through the land route from India. However, the country has been maintaining a free cotton import and export policy with all countries through the sea route.

Pakistan has been running short of cotton due to a massive expansion during the last five years in its spinning industry, and its annual raw cotton consumption has surpassed 16m bales of 170kg. Meanwhile, domestic production of cotton is stagnant at around 12m bales.

By Ahmed Abdullah.