The Indian textile industry is pushing the government to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Pakistan or sign a contract similar to a free trade agreement. Due to the challenges in the traditional European market, the Indian textile industry hopes that the new trading opportunities of Pakistani countries can make up for the losses.
The signing of a free trade agreement with Pakistan is an initiative of the Prime Minister of India. However, the two sides faced some problems and therefore did not finally sit at the negotiating table. At the Islamabad conference last year, Indian Commerce Minister Rahul Khullar and Pakistani Commerce Minister Zafar Mahmood agreed to establish a PTA. According to the PTA, the negotiating countries are required to reduce the tariffs on the other party's products. However, unlike free trade agreements, preferential trade agreements do not substantially or eliminate tariffs on large tariff items. Therefore, the Indian textile industry hopes to sign a free trade agreement with Pakistan, as this will help Indian industries import high-quality cotton from Pakistan. More than 90% of Indian cotton is genetically modified cotton, commonly known as BT cotton, which is medium to long fiber. High-quality cotton is long-fiber cotton, and a free trade agreement allows Indian yarn manufacturers to import long-fiber cotton from Pakistan. At the same time, exports of finished products such as silk and embroidered garments are expected to expand.
Rahul Mehta, president of the Indian Garment Manufacturers Association, said that if the agreement is signed with Pakistan, the Indian garment industry will definitely benefit.
Textile Commissioner AB Josh said that the free trade agreement will benefit both countries because Pakistan has a good demand for Indian textiles.
In October last year, the Indian government opened duty-free imports for 48 Bangladeshi textile projects, which had a negative impact on the Indian textile industry. Bangladesh does not rely on any textile imports from India. But India and Pakistan have different relationships, and India and Pakistan benefit from each other in textile trade.
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