PRGMEA seeks duty-free fabric import as prices skyrocket in Pakistan

LAHORE (INP): Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) on Sunday sought the duty-free import of fabric along with yarn, as the cotton prices found no respite from an unabated spike with the industrial input trading at season’s highest rates because its muted local production continues to widen demand and supply gap.

The PRGMEA Vice Chairman and north zone head Adeeb Iqbal Shikeh said that a huge number of export orders are being received by the value-added garment industry, however, exporters are not accepting the orders for the calendar year 2021 due to skyrocketing price of fabrics in the country along with short availability, especially of the denim fabric.

Adeeb Iqbal urged the government to also abolish duties on the import of fabrics in line with the import relaxation provided on import of cotton yarn, as value-added garment sector is facing severe shortage of basic raw material of fabrics, which may lead to a drastic decline in value-added textile export.

It is to be noted that price of cotton of Sindh were Rs10,000 to Rs10,700 per maund. Cotton of Punjab was sold at Rs10,200 to Rs11,000 per maund, while lint from Balochistan was sold at Rs10,500 per maund. Prices also increased in Brazil, Argentina, Central Asia and India. Cotton production in India is expected around 37 million bales. Cotton production in Pakistan came down to 5.5 million bales from as much as 15 million bales recoded annually in previous years.

Cotton exports from the USA during the week increased 113 percent. Out of which, the highest import orders of 152,000 bales were placed by India, followed by Pakistan with orders for 56,600 bales but shortage of fabric continues to persist.

Due to an increase in the prices of cotton yarn the rates of fabrics are also going up while brokers are also active to stock it maximum, the garments manufacturers appealed to government to get the yarn and fabrics export banned besides allowing duty-free import of them from all countries. Value-added exporters also demanded removal of all types of duties on import of fabrics and yarn.

Adeeb Iqbal said due to a decline of cotton production to the critical level and an increase in the prices of cotton in the international market, prices of fabric and yarn have increased in the local market. Textile mills are operating in full capacity and demand for import of duty-free fabric is must because demand and supply gap in widening.

He said that textile exports in Dec 2021 reached to an all-time high of over $1.4 billion. The industry has been getting a jab since the government decided to manage coronavirus outbreak through avoiding all-out lockdown. The country is receiving export orders diverted from other parts of the world under full or partial economic shutdown.