Aptma, US Cotton vow to enhance mutual cooperation

Hassan Naqvi Staff Reporter

13th Oct, 2021. 09:42 pm
Imran Khan on cotton

LAHORE: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) leadership and the representatives of the US Cotton have resolved to enhance mutual cooperation in cotton and textile trade and investment opportunities.

This understanding was reached during a visit by a high-profile delegation of the Cotton US at the Aptma House, Lahore on Wednesday.

The delegation consisted of William Bettendorf, regional director of CCI, Joerg Bauersachs, head of technical services of CCI, Phil Bogel, consultant, Steve Dyer, ACSA (LDA), and John King, ACSA (Olam).

William Bettendorf said that the visit of the US Cotton delegation has become a regular feature over the last few years, adding that this constant interaction between the two sides has helped resolve issues relating to cotton trade between the two countries.

The objective of organising a workshop for the Aptma member mills is to understand the problems being faced by them in cotton import from the US, he said.

Meanwhile, other speakers of the delegation responded to the queries raised by the Aptma members on the occasion.

Aptma chairman Abdul Rahim Nasir said that the US is Pakistan’s largest trade and investment partner with a total trade of $7.2 billion. There is a need to enhance bilateral trade relations to ensure technology transfer for high-yielding cotton seeds, he said and stressed on facilitation of entry of international seed companies with transgenic technology.

He urged the US delegation to introduce improved, genetically modified, and certified seeds in Pakistan, besides sharing information on the weather forecast.

He also stressed synergy with the US Cotton Research Institute for capacity-building of the agriculture research institutions in Pakistan and to encourage training on contamination-free cotton production and the establishment of joint ventures with the Pakistani partners.

Nasir also emphasised the training on labeling cotton bales with regard to trash content, moisture and weight. The textile industry is focused on capacity expansion and more production units would be in place soon.

Kamran Arshad, senior vice chairman of Aptma Northern Zone, said that the cotton production in Pakistan has drastically dropped to eight million bales in 2021/22 as against the production of 14.8 million bales in 2011/12 and consumption of 16 million bales due to multiple reasons, including water shortage, fake pesticides, and poor pest management.

The drastic fall in cotton production is depleting fast the foreign exchange reserves, as the cotton import bill has jumped to around $1.5 billion per annum.

He also urged the US to offer duty-free access for Pakistani exports that would help reduce the poverty level, unemployment and encourage new investment.

He said the market access facility to Pakistan would not affect the US textile industry.

Earlier, Aptma chairman Abdul Rahim Nasir, senior vice chairman Kamran Arshad and secretary general Raza Baqir along with other senior Aptma members welcomed the delegation.

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