APTMA, US Cotton resolve to enhance mutual cooperation

LAHORE: All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) leadership and representatives of the US Cotton Wednesday resolved to enhance mutual cooperation in cotton and textile trade and investment opportunities. This understanding was reached during the visit of a high-profile delegation of the US Cotton here at APTMA House. The visiting delegation consisted of Mr. William Bettendorf, Regional Director CCI, Mr. Joerg Bauersachs, Head of Technical Services CCI, Mr. Phil Bogel, Consultant, Mr. Steve Dyer, ACSA (LDA), and Mr. John King, ACSA (Olam). Chairman APTMA Abdul Rahim Nasir, Senior Vice Chairman Kamran Arshad and Secretary General Raza Baqir along with other senior APTMA members welcomed the delegation at the APTMA House Lahore. William Bettendorf, Regional Director CCI, said the visit of the US Cotton delegation had become a regular feature over the last few years. He said this constant interaction between the two sides had helped resolve issues relating to cotton trade between the two countries.

The objective of organizing a workshop for the APTMA member mills was to understand the problems faced by them in cotton import from the US, he added. Other speakers of the delegation responded to queries raised by the APTMA members. Speaking on the occasion, Rahim Nasir Chairman APTMA said the US was Pakistan’s largest trade and investment partner with a total trade of $7.2 billion. He said there was a need for enhancing bilateral trade relations to ensure technology transfer for high-yielding cotton seeds. He also 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 Agriculture Research Institutions in Pakistan to encourage training on contamination-free cotton production and the establishment of joint ventures with Pakistani partners. Rahim Nasir also emphasized the training on labelling cotton bales with regard to trash content, moisture and weight. He said the textile industry was focused on capacity expansion and more production units would be in place soon the new Textile Policy was announced by the government.

Kamran Arshad, Senior Vice Chairman APTMA Northern Zone said that cotton production in Pakistan had dropped to 8 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. Zaman said that fall in cotton production was depleting fast foreign exchange reserves as the cotton import bill had jumped to around US$1.5 billion per annum. He also urged the US to offer duty-free access for Pakistani exports that would help reduce poverty level, unemployment and encourage new investment. He said the market access facility to Pakistan would not affect the US textile industry.