ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CU)_The government of Pakistan has decided to lift a nearly two-year ban on Indian cotton and sugar imports, in a major first step to reviving relations between the two neighbouring nations.
During a cabinet meeting held Wednesday (31 March), Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Council allowed the private sector to import 0.5 million tonnes of white sugar, as the government is attempting to keep the rising domestic prices in check.
Moreover, with India being the world’s largest cotton producer and the second largest producer of sugar, this decision by Islamabad would enable New Delhi to reduce surpluses that are weighing on the country’s domestic market.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Pakistani importers have already begun making price inquiries from Indian cotton and sugar producers, which is said to be lower than other countries.
The news follows a letter written to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by his Pakistani counterpart PM Imran Khan, who called for the development of an enabling environment for a “result-oriented dialogue” with India.
In August 2019, Islamabad suspended all trade with India following New Delhi’s revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. However, relations between the two countries have begun to improve over the recent past, particularly after the parties declared a ceasefire along the Line of Control.
Subsequently, PM Khan claimed that advocated dialogue is the only way for the two nations to restore relations.
“I didn’t succeed, but I am optimistic that eventually, common sense will prevail. The only way the subcontinent can tackle poverty is by improving trade relations. Let us live like civilised neighbours, just as the Europeans live,” he said during a visit to Sri Lanka.
If approved, revival of trade between the two neighbours will be an important step forward in restoring relations.