Egypt cancels temporary ban on cotton imports

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Imposed last week, the ban on cotton imports raised fears of a negative impact on Egypt's spinning and weaving industry

Egypt's cabinet decided Wednesday to cancel a temporary ban on cotton imports imposed last week and form a committee to review agricultural policy on cotton. The committee will include the Ministry of Industry and International Trade, the Ministry of Investment, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Planning who will meet with all stakeholders.

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Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture imposed a temporary ban on cotton imports to protect domestic cotton production and improve its marketing. However, in a country where textile manufacturing is highly dependent on imported short-staple cotton, a crop rarely grown in Egypt, the decision sparked fears of a backlash on the domestic spinning and weaving industry.

Luxurious Egyptian cotton is usually exported as raw material, due to the high expense and the difficulty of turning it into final products, while Egyptian manufacturers find it more profitable to use — and are equipped to spin — short-staple varieties.

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Egypt's exports of cotton fell in 2013/14 to US$ 83.8 million from US$ 120.3 million the year prior, while imports grew to US$ 117.8 million in the same period up from US$ 51.3 million, according to Central Bank data.

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