Cabinet cancels decision to ban cotton imports

Shaimaa Al-Aees
2 Min Read
The cabinet cancelled a decision banning cotton import to Egypt on Wednesday. (AFP FILE PHOTO/KHALED DESOUKI)

The cabinet cancelled a decision banning cotton import to Egypt on Wednesday. During a cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, which was still ongoing at the time of print, the door for importing cotton and conducting studies to define the market’s needs were discussed.

Minister of Agriculture Salah Helal had issued Monday a decision to ban cotton imports from abroad to protect Egyptian cotton farmers and avoid damaging the domestic industry.

On Tuesday, a meeting was also held to discuss the decision, as the heads of the export councils and the head of FEDCOC had reservations and described the move as catastrophic because of the negative consequences on their contracts and obligations towards the local and external markets. In addition, this decision could lead to fines on factories as a result of failure to meet these obligations.

However, no solutions were reached to end the current crisis.

The meeting included the Ministers of Industry and Foreign Trade, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, and Agriculture Salah Helal, heads of export councils, head of Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC), Chairman of the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving Company, and head of the General Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives.

The head of the Farmers Syndicate, Nasser Farid, demanded that Helal reconsider his decision because the textile industry system operates with two types of cotton. Machines at public sector factories operate using long staple cotton, while private sector machines operate with short staple cotton, which is imported from abroad.

In this regard, The Egyptian Foreign Ministry received a letter from the Greek government expressing its objection to the Egyptian government’s decision to ban cotton imports to Egypt, negatively affecting Greek exports to the country.

The Greek government noted the decision may lead Greece to take similar action against Egyptian exports to the Greek market.

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